Friday, January 15, 2010

Even Before the Democrats' Medicare Cuts

The Democrats — or at least their Congressional leadership — pretend their "health care" bill won't damage Medicare, even though it takes half a trillion dollars from the program. But let's take a short look at some reality.

The Medicare "savings" are to be accomplished by cutting Medicare's payments for medical services rendered by more than 20%. The Congressional Democrats claim there is this level of fraud in the Medicare program. But they make no attempt to fix that problem, to attack the fraud they claim is there, instead taking out their legislative anger on all Medicare doctors and patients.

But, as everyone already knows, Medicare is in trouble even without these new cuts. Two ways.

  1. It's about to go bankrupt. It soon won't have enough money to pay its commitments.
  2. It only pays doctors about half what it should — half what patient treatment costs. That's why so many doctors won't take new Medicare patients.
Both aspects will be made substantially worse by stealing half a trillion dollars from the program.

And what brings this into focus now? The Mayo Clinic — cited by Barack Obama as a model of healthcare efficiency — has made a decision. Not only will its Arizona clinic not accept new Medicare patients, its existing Medicare patients will have to pay cash to stay with their Mayo doctors. That's because the Arizona clinics lost $120 million last year treating Medicare patients. Overall, the Mayo clinics lost $840 million on Medicare patients last year, which had to be made up from their non-Medicare patients.

Can you imagine how much worse it will be for Medicare doctors and Medicare patients if the Democrats' "health care" bill becomes law? And how many doctors will have to choose between bankruptcy and turning away Medicare patients needing medical care?


Grace said...

Fraud is a major problem and the creative ways in which it is being committed, as indicated in this article at shows that the costs savings realized in addressing it can help immensely in solving Medicare’s current funding shortcomings. I have read where the government is taking steps to address Medicare fraud by forming fraud patrols throughout the U.S. There is also some good information about Medicare fraud and how Medicare recipients can prevent it at:

gdcritter said...

Yes, fraud is a major problem -- in Medicare as in many other programs. And yes, the government should go after Medicare fraud and those who commit it. But reducing doctors' reimbursements will do nothing about the frauds. All it will do is drive doctors either bankrupt or out of serving Medicare patients.