Coming soon: Draconian Medicare cuts

This can't be good news if you're a senior dependent on Medicare for health care. Lori Montgomery of the Washington Post gives the details on huge cuts in Medicare that will mean that some physicians will almost certainly drop patients:

A plan to slash more than $500 billion from future Medicare spending -- one of the biggest sources of funding for President Obama's proposed overhaul of the nation's health-care system -- would sharply reduce benefits for some senior citizens and could jeopardize access to care for millions of others, according to a government evaluation released Saturday.

The report, requested by House Republicans, found that Medicare cuts contained in the health package approved by the House on Nov. 7 are likely to prove so costly to hospitals and nursing homes that they could stop taking Medicare altogether.

Congress could intervene to avoid such an outcome, but "so doing would likely result in significantly smaller actual savings" than is currently projected, according to the analysis by the chief actuary for the agency that administers Medicare and Medicaid. That would wipe out a big chunk of the financing for the health-care reform package, which is projected to cost $1.05 trillion over the next decade.

More generally, the report questions whether the country's network of doctors and hospitals would be able to cope with the effects of a reform package expected to add more than 30 million people to the ranks of the insured, many of them through Medicaid, the public health program for the poor.

No doubt, Congress will restore many of those cuts which will make national health care an even bigger budget buster.

But what to do about 30 million new customers flowing into the system? With a shortage of primary care doctors, the potential for the system to become overwhelmed is great. The prospect of full emergency rooms treating common medical problems while patients who need immediate care go without is very real.

In short, even though Congress will probably give in to pressure from seniors and restore many of the cuts made in Medicare, the chances that the system will get any better are zero, while it is likely that things will get a lot worse for almost all of us as far as quick and easy access to medical care.


Hat Tip: Ed Lasky




This can't be good news if you're a senior dependent on Medicare for health care. Lori Montgomery of the Washington Post gives the details on huge cuts in Medicare that will mean that some physicians will almost certainly drop patients:

A plan to slash more than $500 billion from future Medicare spending -- one of the biggest sources of funding for President Obama's proposed overhaul of the nation's health-care system -- would sharply reduce benefits for some senior citizens and could jeopardize access to care for millions of others, according to a government evaluation released Saturday.

The report, requested by House Republicans, found that Medicare cuts contained in the health package approved by the House on Nov. 7 are likely to prove so costly to hospitals and nursing homes that they could stop taking Medicare altogether.

Congress could intervene to avoid such an outcome, but "so doing would likely result in significantly smaller actual savings" than is currently projected, according to the analysis by the chief actuary for the agency that administers Medicare and Medicaid. That would wipe out a big chunk of the financing for the health-care reform package, which is projected to cost $1.05 trillion over the next decade.

More generally, the report questions whether the country's network of doctors and hospitals would be able to cope with the effects of a reform package expected to add more than 30 million people to the ranks of the insured, many of them through Medicaid, the public health program for the poor.

No doubt, Congress will restore many of those cuts which will make national health care an even bigger budget buster.

But what to do about 30 million new customers flowing into the system? With a shortage of primary care doctors, the potential for the system to become overwhelmed is great. The prospect of full emergency rooms treating common medical problems while patients who need immediate care go without is very real.

In short, even though Congress will probably give in to pressure from seniors and restore many of the cuts made in Medicare, the chances that the system will get any better are zero, while it is likely that things will get a lot worse for almost all of us as far as quick and easy access to medical care.


Hat Tip: Ed Lasky