The Effect of Health-Cost Reform
Seniors are relatively pleased with Medicare, although more and more physicians are limiting the number of Medicare patients they are taking because of the drop in reimbursement. This drop will be exacerbated if the current bills make it to legislation since one of the sources of funding this "health-COST reform" movement (notice I did not say "health-CARE reform") is by further limiting Medicare and taking about $150 billion (depending on whose numbers are used) out of it. This will probably have the most impact on "boomers" turning 65 who will have difficulty finding a physician who will take a new Medicare patient.
On the positive side, seniors could benefit from "bundling" fees for services such as hip replacements because bundling would force better coordination among the health-care team since they would all need to work together to get payment.
Seniors see at least three problems. One is that there are so many renditions of bills floating around that it is impossible to get concise, clear answers about what the final product will look like and, because of that, the sources of financing for reform are vague and murky. In addition, seniors understand that there is an enormous amount of fraud and abuse in Medicare financials that the government recognizes but has been unable to fix. That lack of ability also makes them nervous.
Seniors "get it"-- they are seeking clarity about what changes are going to occur and how they will be paid for.
August 14, 2009; 11:25 AM ET
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