Mar 31, 2010

Dispelling the Lies: What Health Reform "Actually" Means for Seniors

This is a reply to a March 30, 2010, article on the Huffington Post. What good is health system reform if patients on Medicare have no doctor to see? Since 1992, a fundamental problem has existed in the program. It has become a huge gaping wound that jeopardizes physicians’ ability to care for their Medicare patients. Without a permanent solution, fewer and fewer Medicare patients will have access to the care they need. Care that has been promised to them. Without a permanent solution, many provisions in the reform law won’t work. Why are doctors being forced out of Medicare? Medicare uses a faulty formula to calculate physicians’ payments. The formula has mandated physician fee cuts almost every year for the past decade. Only short-term congressional fixes … Band-Aids … have stopped the cuts each year. Without a permanent solution, the cuts grow deeper each year.. Tomorrow, Medicare cuts physician payments more than 21 percent. It’s almost ironic the cut happens on April Fools’ Day, because it won’t stick. Within the next two weeks, Congress will do what it has done for the past 10 years: put another a Band-Aid on the wound. This is the fourth time Congress has frozen the cuts this year. How can doctors stay in a program with so much uncertainty? Some doctors are opting out of the Medicare program, some are taking fewer Medicare patients, some are not taking any new Medicare patients, and some doctors are leaving the profession and retiring early. Steve Levine, VP for Communication, Texas Medical Association Read the Article at HuffingtonPost

No comments: