Thursday, February 16, 2012

Doc Fix – Robbing Peter to Pay Paul

To rob Peter to pay Paul.

John Heywood (1497-1580)

He robbeth Peter to Pay Paul.

John Florio (1553-1625)

Give not Saint Peter so much to leave Saint Paul nothing.

George Herbert (1593-1633)

February 16, 2012 - No matter how you slice it, who you quote, and who you steal it from, the tentative doc fix is about robbing Peter to pay Paul. It is a zero sum game.

The fix proposal would cut The Prevention Fund by $5 billion, and make up the rest, which amounts to $50 billion over the next decade, by cutting Medicare payments to most hospitals and other providers as well as Medicaid payments to hospitals serving the poor.

In addition, the fix would gut $2.5 billion in Medicaid fees to Louisiana, the amount originally designated for the “Louisiana Purchase” because it was said to buy Senator Mary Landrieu’s vote to pass the Accountable Care Act.

Of the $50 billion, about $20 billion would go doc fix and Medicare extenders package. It would take $9.6 billion in cuts from clinical laboratory services and Medicare “bad debt” and from nursing homes whose patients can’t pay. It would reduce Medicaid “disproportionate share” payments to hospitals by $4 billion.

It would slash additional payments for mental health services and bone density scans. It would phase out payments to rural hospitals for high labor costs and payments for technical services provided by pathologists.

What a deal, It would steal from hospitals, nursing homes, mentally ill, and other doctors to pay doctors for the rest of the year.

A billion here and a billion there, from here and there, and pretty soon, like next week when Congrees goes on vacation for President’s day, you can seal the deal.

Tweet: The “doc fix”deal is imminent. It will cost $50 billion over 10 years and will take money from other health care providers to pay doctors.

No comments: