Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Health Care Update

Health Care Reform is Paid for by Cuts to Medicare
The enormous health care bill signed into law will be largely paid for by cuts to services many seniors depend on. Here is just a sampling of the Medicare cuts, totaling more than $500 billion, to come:

In 2010:
•Medicare will cut reimbursements to inpatient psychiatric hospitals.

In 2011:
•Medicare cuts to home health agencies begin.
•Wealthier seniors ($85K/$170K) begin paying higher Part D premiums.
  Medicare cuts begin to ambulance services, ambulatory surgery
  centers, diagnostic labs,  and durable medical equipment.
•Seniors are prohibited from purchasing power wheelchairs unless they
  first rent for 13 months.
•New Medicare cuts to long term care hospitals begin.
•New Medicare cuts to hospitals and cuts to nursing homes begin (FY12)
•Medicare Advantage cuts begin. Participating seniors will face premium
 increases, benefit cuts, or both.

In 2012:
•Medicare reimbursements for dialysis treatments are cut.
•Medicare cuts to hospice begin.

In 2013:
•Medicare reimbursements to hospitals that serve low-income seniors
  will be cut.

WHAT THIS MEANS FOR YOU: When providers get paid less by Medicare for services seniors depend on, many may be forced to decrease their services or close some of their locations just to make ends meet. This means that seniors may experience a decrease in their access to essential care, which is already a problem for many in rural districts. The cuts to Medicare Advantage may cause many of these insurance providers to stop offering plans to seniors, forcing seniors back into traditional Medicare.

THE DOCTOR'S DIAGNOSIS: Seniors should not have to bear the cost of health care reform. Instead, we need common-sense health reform that will lead to quality, affordable health care, without breaking the bank, or cutting services to seniors.
(John Fleming, M.D., Member of Congress)