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Northeast-Midwest Weekly Update -- 13 January 1997

                          WEEKLY UPDATE

                         13 January 1997

                         TOP OF THE NEWS


     The Northeast-Midwest Institute this week will release a report
with the most detailed and updated state-by-state data associated with
Medicare's population, financing, and services.  Entitled MEDICARE: 
THE REGIONAL DATA, the 39-page report lays out the background data
that state and congressional analysts can use to analyze the regional
implications of reform proposals.

     Medicare promises to be the largest and most controversial issue
facing budgeteers in Congress and the administration during the next
few years.  The program's costs have skyrocketed since its inception,
far outstripping the projections of its original sponsors.  Two
factors have driven up the budget for the program:  the
disproportionate increase in the share of the population over age 65,
especially in the "old old" population over age 85; and the
popularization of increasingly sophisticated medical technology and
treatments, which carry their own burgeoning costs at the same time
that they exacerbate the demographic phenomenon of increasing life
spans.  How policymakers resolve the budget issues surrounding
Medicare may well determine whether this program can continue in the
next century when the huge baby boom generation hits Medicare age.

     In many instances, as noted below, the data indicate regional
differences in Medicare's population, financing, and services. 
Policymakers from northeastern and midwestern states may want to
consider the following characteristics as they review legislation
affecting Medicare.

     * The Northeast-Midwest in 1994 had a larger share of the
       Medicare population than it did of the general population.

     * The region had a larger share of Medicare's population of aged
       persons than of the program's disabled  population.  The South
       despite the large aged enrollee population in Florida, which
       skews the region's percentages   had a much higher proportion
       of the disabled enrollee population.

     * The number of visits and costs for home health agency services
       were dramatically lower in the Northeast-Midwest region than
       in the South, even though a larger population was served.

     * Managed care for Medicare enrollees has not caught on in the
       Northeast-Midwest region, with the exception of Minnesota. 
       Florida, California, and several western states have above-
       average proportions of their Medicare population in pre-paid

     * Most northeastern and midwestern states had relatively few
       Medicare enrollees covered by Medicaid, while most southern
       states exceeded the national average.

     * Northeast-Midwest states with high costs of living also tend
       to have above-average cost-sharing liabilities.

     * The region's payments into the Medicare Trust Fund exceeded
       its share of the national population, as well as its share of
       the Medicare population. 

     * The Northeast-Midwest region accounted for almost half the
       national total of days of short-stay hospital care.

     * The region, in contrast, had the lowest rates of admission-
       per-enrollee for skilled nursing facility services.

     The publication is available from the Northeast-Midwest Institute
for $25.

     CONTACTS:  Tim Kay for a copy of the publication and Paula Duggan
for questions about the data and analysis (544-5200).


     Staff for the bipartisan House and Senate Great Lakes Task Forces
will meet this week to discuss priorities and strategies for the 105th

     The organizational meeting of the House Great Lakes Task Force
will be on Thursday, January 16, from 1:00-2:30 pm in Room HC-8
(Terrace Conference Room) of the U.S. Capitol Building.  The Senate
Great Lakes Task Force will meet on Friday, January 17, at 10:00 am
(room to be announced) in the U.S. Capitol Building.

     CONTACTS:  Rochelle Sturtevant with the House Great Lakes Task
Force (225-5731) and Patricia Cicero with the Senate Great Lakes Task
Force (224-0388).