Medicare Actuary: Obama Medicare Cuts Will Deny the Elderly Access to Care

For the second year in a row the CMS Office of the Actuary has released a dissenting analysis (to the Medicare Trustees’ report) of how the Affordable Care Act (ObamaCare) affects Medicare:

One of the most important factors in projecting Medicare expenditures are the annual payment updates to Medicare providers. The estimates shown in the 2011 Trustees Report are complicated substantially by mandated reductions in these payment updates for most Medicare services…..  It is reasonable to expect that Congress would find it necessary to legislatively override or otherwise modify the reductions in the future to ensure that Medicare beneficiaries continue to have access to health care services.

Here is Chris Jacob’s summary:

The report estimates that, if the productivity adjustments were to remain in effect, by 2085 “Medicare and Medicaid payment rates for inpatient hospital services would both represent roughly 33 percent of the average level for private health insurance.”  The report reiterates the actuary’s projection from last year that the productivity adjustments could cause approximately 40 percent of providers to become unprofitable by 2050.  Likewise, if the SGR reductions remain in effect, “Medicare [payment] rates would eventually fall to 27 percent of private health insurance levels by 2085 and to less than half of projected Medicaid rates.”  It’s also worth noting that all of the economists with whom the actuary’s office discussed these provisions “believed that the payment reductions were unsustainable,” including liberal economists like David Cutler, who served as an unpaid advisor to Barack Obama’s presidential campaign.

Comments (6)

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  1. Brian Williams. says:

    Thanks for pointing this out on your blog. This report should be more devastating to Obamacare than the media is reporting.

  2. Ken says:

    Either they will never allow these cuts to take place — in which case the deficit will soar, thanks to obama Care — or they will allow them and the elderly will be effectively put on the ice floe.

  3. Nancy says:

    I can’t understand all the flak Paul Ryan is getting. The Ryan plan is just an idea. Obama Care is the reality.

  4. Devon Herrick says:

    It goes without saying that seniors’ access to physicians will suffer if Medicare fees are cut. Under the Affordable Care ACt Medicare payments are scheduled to fall to 29% of what private insurers pay. If this happens, thousands more physicians will convert their practices to a concierge model, where 90% of a physician’s patients (those unwilling to pay an annual retainer) are told to find a new doctor.

    Medicare enrollees often have multiple chronic conditions. A typical physician appointment takes much longer than appointments for younger, healthier patients. Physicians cannot afford to spend twice as long with patients that reimburse two-thirds less than privately-insured patients.

  5. Bruce says:

    Same song, same dance. But this is about the only health policy blog where you will read any of this.

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