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At the Center for Medicare Advocacy's National Voices of Medicare Summit (March 20, 2015), three Medicare leaders presented their perspectives on Medicare's promise and challenges. All spoke to the value of Medicare for its intended beneficiaries: older and disabled people. They also noted the resources and funds Medicare spends on providers and private industries.   

Current CMS Medicare Director Sean Cavanaugh noted that Medicare spends as much of its resources on the private Medicare Advantage program as on traditional Medicare, although over 70% of beneficiaries are in traditional Medicare. Mr. Cavanaugh's predecessor, Jonathan Blum told the gathering that Part D is projected to be the fastest growing component of Medicare and, in particular, that "specialty drugs" will drive costs. Since Medicare provides prescription drug coverage exclusively through private plans, and does not negotiate pharmaceutical prices, these payments are highly beneficial to both the insurance and the pharmaceutical industries. 

Former HCFA (CMS) Administrator, Bruce Vladeck concluded that Medicare is responsible for approximately $600 billion a year in income to providers. "They part with it with great reluctance," said Dr. Vladeck. "In other health systems [abroad], beneficiaries use more services, but providers don't collect as large checks," said Vladeck.

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