Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Maiming Medicare

Having failed to privatize Social Security, the Bush Administration is trying to wreck Medicare on its way out the door, but MDs are mad as hell, and they're taking it out on Congressional Republicans.

The focus this week is on trying to undo a 10.6 percent cut in payment to care providers for millions of older Americans. Before the Fourth of July recess, the House passed a bill to prevent the Medicare pay cut by a vote of 355 to 59. In the Senate, Republicans blocked efforts to take up the bill, so the cut took effect on July 1st.

Now the AMA and its incensed members are targeting such former friends as Sens. John Sununu, Roger Wicker and Arlen Specter, who all voted against cloture.

As with the SCHIP legislation to expand children's health care coverage, Bush and his allies are favoring the insurance industry over a government program that is working well for those who need it most.

If the new reimbursement rates were to stand, more doctors would be joining the legions of those who refuse to take on Medicare patients as economically unsound for their practices.

Perhaps the next step would be the "Ice Floe HMO" solution favored by one in three British doctors who would deny treatment to the old "if it were unlikely to do them good for long."

Unless Republicans relent, as they almost surely will, members of the AARP are certain to send them a don't-get-well message in November.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

My dear departed mother often told me, "Don't wish your life away."

But I am getting impatient for January, 2009.

Mother had a Medicare sponsored hip replacement when she was 93. She would have been 100 in January but gave up the ghost last October. She walked with a little help until shortly before her demise.

She may have taken the "Ice Floe" option but I would have had to buy her a pair of skates.