Bipartisan committee leaders have proposed a $210 billion Medicare fix that would solve one of the larger Medicare problems, doctor payments. The short term spending, which would take place over ten years, may not seem attractive on the surface, but the longer term effects could be a major improvement to Medicare providers, Medicare recipients, and the economy as a whole.

Currently doctor payments for Medicare recipients are kept artificially high, that costs our country money and leads to increased healthcare spending. Despite increased spending more and more Medicare patients are being turned away in regions where demand for care outpaces supply. Fixing the issue now, and calling for transparency in doctor payments, can ensure Medicare remains viable for years to come.

Here are the facts on the new Medicare reform proposal:

  • House Speaker John Boehner and Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi both support the proposal and are still working out the details.
  • The fixes have support from both sides of the isle.
  • Without congressional action, doctors will see a 21 percent cut to their Medicare payments on April 1, under an 18-year-old formula known as the Sustainable Growth Rate, or SGR.
  • When doctors face cuts, seniors risk less doctors accepting Medicare. This fix would help eliminate the annual guessing games of what Medicare will pay.
  • The deal would permanently repeal that formula. Physicians would get 0.5 percent annual increases for five years. Hoping to curb Medicare spending, doctors would be offered financial incentives to charge patients for the quality of care they receive, not the treatments they undergo.
  • Congress has blocked Medicare payment cuts 17 times since 2002.
  • The changes would also include additional financing for CHIP (Children’s health insurance program). The children’s health program, whose funding expires Oct. 1, would be financed two more years.
  • $70 billion of the $210 billion is paid for, with the remainder of the cost increasing deficit in the short term, but the reform itself is expected to lead to savings over time.
  • The $70 billion in offsets are expected to be split between provider cuts and beneficiary cuts, such as making wealthier seniors pay a higher percentage of premium costs.
  • Part of the revenue generated is from increased Part B premiums for high-income seniors and cuts from federal spending on Medigap plans.

Our Opinion: Generally, the fact that different insurance types pay out wildly different amounts (and thus require federal spending to pad payments) coupled with the fact that only a percentage of claims are paid not only increases healthcare costs, it also hurts doctors and patients. Any reform to address transparency and doctor payments should be encouraged. As long as Medicaid, Medicare, and low-end private plans are less attractive for doctors to take, those who have health insurance will continue to experince inequality in regions where demand outpaces supply. The lower the uninsured rate, the more of a problem this becomes. It’s about time congress stopped fighting healthcare reform and started doing the hard work needed to continue to solve the “healthcare crisis“.

Learn more from the original AP article on Medicare reform.

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Madeleine Levine on

Most retirees are middle class all their lives until they turn 65; then they are expected to drop dead, live in poverty and not collect their earned benefits. They contribute a large percentage of their gross including employer 6% contribution. for all important retirement and medical benefits when they retire .The huge Safety Net investments are one of the reasons the middle class has been bankrupted for the past 40 years – plus stagnant wages. Politicians are intent on destroying the Safety Nets and the people who have paid and depend on their earned benefits for a pleasurable retirement and good medical care

Retirees are owed $2.8 trillion but have no approval of how their hard-won investments are spent. Who is God’s name would continue to loan money to debtors who owed them $trillions but are the only ones mandated to throw more money to the insatisible looters. The Doctor Fix is being paid primarily on the backs of Social Security and Medicare recipients who are 27th in the world in retirement benefits.THERE IS TOTAL DISRESPECT FOR MIDDLE CLASS RETIREMENT AND MEDICAL TRUSTS. No bank could attach a retirees’ account without approval or consultation; the best think tanks will tell you retirees are poor and suffering. The S-Chip program is hardly a children’s program; recipients are 95% illegal and eligible until age 35. Presently, S-Chip is paid by Medicaid but will be switched to Medicare so retirees will be paying for illegals, hundreds of millions of dollars, for non-payers’ Doctor Fix. We are also being threatened to pay for the scandalous Disability scandal which will only
be able to pay 80% of present benefits next year. Politicians want to combine Di Trust with OASI trust to maintain rubber-stamped applicants and punish fully eligible payors to make the unemployment rate look lower. By the way, 50 new scandalous disabilities were added in 2010 – such as Sexual Dysfunction, not speaking English, sore necks and backs. The Disability Trust should be investigated and ineligibles forced to repay and discontinued.

There is bi-partisan cooperation in Congress now; it is to savage the monies contributed to retirement and medical trusts with no approval of the investors needed. It is obscene and should be illegal to steal fully-paid retirement and medical trusts to balance the bloated budget to give gifts to unworthy people.. There is no resistance to $25,000 per family rewards for illegals getting Obama Executive Privilege by Republicans – only concern they will be able to vote with unmarked documents granted. There is no Republican objection because it is habitually understood monies will come out of Social Security and Medicare trust current contributions.There is also bi-partisan cooperation on Trans-Pacific treaty simply to add to Obama legacy, and increase the Chamber of Commerce or Republican Parties’ profits enormously. The huge trade profits make Anarchy in the streets acceptable by the Republicans and a fair trade off for Obama’s goal of federalizing the Police.

When there was a slight racial tiff at Navy Pier in Chicago, it was quelled the next day which proves politicians know George Soros, Communists and the Unions are responsible and nothing is going to interfere with city coffers. There are similar disturbances immediately stopped at other Chicago malls – no “stand-down” issued by politicians further endangering police and property. Billionaire Soros and other monied groups should be mandated to pay for destruction of their orchestrated looting and rioting. THE MIDDLE CLASS IS BROKE,MOST TAXPAYERS TRYING TO SURVIVE FROM PAYDAY TO PAYDAY.

Bi-partisan cooperation is defined by open borders, Social Security and Medicare being destroyed, even lower wages for far fewer jobs, affluent public employees feeding at the trough of hard-pressed taxpayers, the oligarchy getting richer. The rich like nothing better than getting richer – taking and spending other peoples’ money with no apprehensions or guilt in drawing the last drop of lifeblood.

Bi-partisan cooperation can be defined as seamless interaction to create America as a third-world nation.

Obamacare was given 3 years to save a reserve before implementation Corrupt congress did not save one cent but attached Medicare $800 billion to pay for non-paying Obamacare patients who received free coverage. Now, Medicare is scheduled to contribute $ one trillion over ten years to Obamacare to pay for free riders while payees Medicare coverage is treated as toilet paper and refused by most physicians. To pay for the Doctor Fix and S-Chip mostly for illegals, seniors’ Medicare premiums and deductibles will increase. $100 co-pays on doctor visits plus surtaxes on Medigap services are being added to pay for Doctor Fix. Medicare Supplemental insurance is very expensive, mine increased $80 per month this year. The premium for this year is $280 per month and now will be exorbitantly more next year. I.am now paying $105 Medicare premium plus $40 for Drugs or Part D per month and my son paying $280 monthly Medigap premium as I cannot afford it with $1200 monthly net plus co-pays and deductibles. We are being told after Doctor Fix, it will be mandatory we pay hugely increased deductible and co-pays – even though monthly premiums now will be far in excess of $425 per month. I am 73 years old and forced to work as I cannot live on $1200 per month after paying Medical. I have to pay full Social Security taxes – about $300 per month – even though I cannot ever receive another penny more of present Social Security income. Isn’t that TAXIATION WITHOUT REPRESENTATION? I HAVE BITERLY COMPLAINED ABOUT THIS GREAT INJUSTICE. I HAVE BEEN TOLD I HAVE TO MAKE UP FOR ALL THE SOCIAL SECURITY EARNERS WHO DIED YOUNG.

ray on

MAdeleine…..I feel your pain . I have the same problem only I have a pension (small) which helps. The supplemental does go up every year I started out at 150 a month and now it’s 260. We are getting hammered and it is just like the VA ,.If you have a claim it will take until you die to get settled. We all are in the same boat.I didn’t know about the illegals getting a free ride