The Defense Department's (DoD) inability to measure how much it spends on health care for the elderly raises doubts about cost data from the ongoing Medicare subvention test, and whether the concept can be shown to save money for Medicare, say congressional auditors.
The findings of a recent General Accounting Office (GAO) report dash hopes that Congress will shorten the three-year subvention test at ten stateside locations and implement a nationwide program as early as next year.
Defense officials agree they have serious cost accounting problems to overcome and that the subvention test should run its course. But they remain confident that the results will convince Congress to adopt Medicare subvention nationwide. About 1.3 million military retirees, dependents, and survivors age 65 and older are barred from using Tricare, the military's triple health-care option. Elderly beneficiaries instead are expected to use Medicare, alternative health insurance, or military hospitals and clinics on a "space available" basis.