If HCFA is not going to send Medi-care handbooks to all 38 million beneficiaries this year, it must account for the $95 million it said it needed for 1998, Senate Finance Committee Chairman William Roth (R-Del.) said in a letter last week to HHS Secretary Donna Shalala.
Roth said he would ensure that "any leftover funds from this year will be deducted from next year's user-fee appropriation."
HCFA's funding to inform beneficiaries of the new Medicare+Choice structure comes from a health plan user fee. For fiscal 1998, HCFA requested $200 million but got only $95 million from Congress.
For fiscal 1999, HCFA is seeking $150 million. But at a recent hearing of the House Appropriations Committee, labor and HHS subcommittee members questioned whether that money was needed, given that HCFA is not spending all its fiscal 1998 allocation.
Roth said HCFA "must account for the funds not being spent" for handbooks in fiscal 1998.