Thursday, September 7, 2006
Yesterday, the New York Times reported that Dr. Mark B. McClellan, announced that he will resign as administrator for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services early next month. His announcement included a statement concerning how proud he was "to have provided prescription drug benefits to older Americans in the biggest expansion of the program since its creation 40 years ago." The Times article demonstrates how controversial some of his decisions were. According to the Times,
Democrats have made clear that if they win a majority in either house of Congress, they will investigate many of Dr. McClellan’s decisions. . . .
Senator Charles E. Grassley, the Iowa Republican who is chairman of the Finance Committee, said: “There were bound to be some start-up problems, and glitches continue. Dr. McClellan has worked to fix the problems. I hope that his departure doesn’t cause delays in getting snags fixed for beneficiaries and that he’ll correct all known problems before he leaves.’’
No one was named to succeed Dr. McClellan. His agency accounts for about one-fifth of the entire federal budget, spending more than $550 billion a year on health care for more than 90 million Americans.
The next administrator faces two huge political challenges. One is how to reverse increases in the number of people without health insurance and how to pay for Medicare and Medicaid, whose costs are expected to soar as millions of baby boomers age.