Sunday, May 3, 2009

Reform-Related Quotes from Sunday May 3 New York Times

A freeze in Social Security benefits would have major implications for Medicare because the COLA, in effect, puts a cap on premiums for Part B of Medicare, which covers doctors’ services.

If there is no cost-of-living adjustment for Social Security, about three-fourths of beneficiaries will not see any change in their basic Part B premiums, federal officials said. But some beneficiaries do not have this protection and could face substantial increases in their Part B premiums.

In addition, millions of beneficiaries could see higher premiums for drug coverage, provided under Part D of Medicare.

Social Security and Medicare trustees will describe the outlook for benefits and premiums in their annual reports this month.

Officials have already said the condition of Medicare’s hospital insurance trust fund is deteriorating because of the recession, which has reduced payroll tax revenues, the main source of money for the fund. Spending on Social Security and Medicare totaled more than $1 trillion last year, accounting for more than one-third of the federal budget.

Robert Pear, May 3, “ Social Security Benefits Not Expected to Rise in ’10 “

As I have always said, though, that we should not overstate the degree to which consumers rather than doctors are going to be driving treatment, because, I just speak from my own experience, I’m a pretty-well-educated layperson when it comes to medical care; I know how to ask good questions of my doctor. But ultimately, he’s the guy with the medical degree. So, if he tells me, You know what, you’ve got such-and-such and you need to take such-and-such, I don’t go around arguing with him or go online to see if I can find a better opinion than his.

And so, in that sense, there’s always going to be an asymmetry of information between patient and provider. And part of what I think government can do effectively is to be an honest broker in assessing and evaluating treatment options. And certainly that’s true when it comes to Medicare and Medicaid, where the taxpayers are footing the bill and we have an obligation to get those costs under control.

David Leonhart, An Interview with President Obama

1 comment:

Unknown said...

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