Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Obama Budget Would Cut $360 Billion from Medicaid and Medicare over Next 10 Years

Balanced budget requirements seem to more likely to produce accounting ingenuity than genuinely balanced budgets.

Thomas Sowell (1930- ), Hoover Institute

February 15, 2012 – In its 1252 word summary of the president’s 2013 budget, gleaned from 300 news organizations, Kaiser Health News concludes: “Cuts, which would be made over 10 years, would come primarily from reduced payments to drug companies and health care providers.”

Reduced payments would be comprised of:

• $236 billion from drug companies, including $156 billion in discounts for seniors and other rebates.

• $36 billion from hospitals, including $19 billion in cuts for residency funding.$664 million from CDC.

• Unknown $ billions from doctors because of uncertainties of “doc fix,” though ACA stipulates doctor fees for Medicare would be below those for Medicaid by 2019, and cuts are already occuring for high tech specialities like radiology, orthopedics, and cardiology.

Starting in 2017, billions of more dollars would be “saved” by raising premiums for new baby boomer retirees and well-to-do seniors (means testing), charging co-pays for seniors and penalizing Medigap policy-holders with higher copays and higher deductibles for part B (doctor services part D(prescription services).

It remains is doubt, wWhether this budget:

-- is a real budget plan or merely a campaign document;

-- has the political will exists to make “deep cuts” in Medicaid and Medicare;

-- the Senate has the guts to implement a budget;

--the Supreme Court renders impotent Obamacare;

--Democrats will retain the balance of power after November 2012.

Only one thing is certain: balanced budgeting can always be counterbalanced by fudgeting it.

Tweet: President Obama’s $3.3 trillion 2013 budget would cut $360 billion over next 10 years, mostly from drug companies and health providers.

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