Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Notable and Quotable:  Projected Federal Spending for Major Health Care Entitlements:  $1,490 Billion by 2022

By Louise Radnofsky, "Health Providers Watch Negotiations," Wall Street Journal, December 11, 2012
“Supporters of trimming payments argue that providers are being overpaid in some cases and  that they are unlikely to  start turning away the numerous patients who are covered by Medicare and Medicaid.”
“But provider groups say that almost all reductions in their reimbursements would swiftly lead to seniors and low-income Americans who participate in the health programs losing access to doctors and treatment.”
“The debate comes as doctors once again push lawmakers to postpone a separate prospect of steep  automatic cuts in their reimbursements , stemming from a 15-year old budget law (SGR) that set a formula to reduce doctors payments if broad spending targets are exceeded.  Congress has overridden the cuts since 2002 and is likely to do so again, but will have to find a way to pay for it – which could include targeting hospital payments.”
“The health-overhaul law passed in 2012 further complicates negotiations, because it includes payment cuts to hospitals ;  and insurers selling private Medicare plans and other changes currently estimated at $ 716 billion over ten years.”
Comment:  Obamacare advocates argue you can cut hospitals and doctors by $716 billion over 10 years and still maintain or increase levels of services to Medicare and Medicaid recipients. 

Something about this argument doesn’t taste or smell right – you cannot have your cake and eat it too with suffering budgetary indigestion or reducing the size of average slice of the cake to the individual eater and individual servers of the cake.

Tweet:  Cut $716 billion out of hospital and doctor pay over the next 10 years,  and you will cut benefits to patients and access to doctors.

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