Thursday, December 22, 2005

Medicare Cuts

Medicare cuts pass Senate

....The measure also cuts more than $6 billion in spending on Medicare over the next five years, including a $1.2 billion reduction in payments to hospitals. At the same time, it avoids a planned 4.4% cut in doctor payments by pouring $7.3 billion into the program.

Doctors' groups lobbied aggressively for the increase, saying it was needed for them to continue providing services to the elderly. Democrats warned that it would translate to higher payments by those patients because beneficiaries pay 25% of the cost of doctor visits through premiums.

This couldn't have been closer, 51-50. No matter what side you're on, you haven't heard the last of this. In fact, it's just the beginning.

And, for Medcaid Patients:

Now, a family of three earning $16,500 -- income just over the poverty line -- pays $3 to visit the doctor.

Under a bill approved by the House on Monday and the Senate on Wednesday, that co-payment could increase to 10 percent of the visit's cost -- which could mean $20 to $80 to have a cataract removed or $100 for a day in the hospital, according to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, a liberal advocacy group in Washington.

The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office said the co-payment increases and other Medicaid changes would save state and federal governments money primarily because recipients would forgo treatment rather than pay the higher costs.



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