Report: Access to care rises among Medicare beneficiaries

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Medicare beneficiaries have enjoyed greater access to healthcare despite cost cutting measures, according to a new report from the Government Accountability Office.

Between 2000 and 2005, the GAO said that beneficiaries' access to healthcare in at least two key areas actually increased. In Use of Services Increasing Nationwide and Relatively Few Beneficiaries Report Major Access Problems, the GAO said that proportion of beneficiaries receiving services rose by four percentage points from about 41% to about 45%. Also, the average number of services provided per 1,000 beneficiaries nationwide also rose substantially.

Physicians billing Medicare jumped by 11% over the five years, while at the same time the number of Medicare beneficiaries increased by 8%, according to the GAO.