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Sunday, November 15, 2009


An article from today’s Washington Post, titled “Report: Bill would reduce senior care” details a new report which warns that Medicare cuts approved by House Health Restructuring bill are not only insufficient to provide needed funding for reform, but also may affect access to health care providers. The full Washington Post article is available here. The CMS report is available here.

The article (in part) explains, “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....

The report offers the clearest and most authoritative assessment to date of the effect that Democratic health reform proposals would have on Medicare and Medicaid, the nation's largest public health programs. It analyzes the House bill, but the Senate is also expected to rely on hundreds of billions of dollars in Medicare cuts to finance the package that Majority Leader Harry M. Reid (D-Nev.) hopes to take to the floor this week.”

This report makes clear what many predict - that the insufficient funding of the proposals under consideration will lead to rationing. A substantial part of health care subsidies, under any current proposal, would be paid for by “robbing Peter to pay Paul” – reducing Medicare funding for older people in order to cover the uninsured. Over-promising while under-funding health insurance for the uninsured will almost surely lead to rationing.

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