POSSIBLE HEALTH CUTS IN MEDICARE & MEDICAID
Exploring the September, 2011 address to Congress by President Obama of ways to repair the deficit
If you’ve been watching the news, you’ll at least know about the recent address to Congress by President Obama, and his proposed efforts to pare the deficit and create jobs. Of course, the big question has been, how? Where would the funds come from to accomplish this?
Many of the news agencies are reporting that President Obama would be seeking the hundreds of billions of dollars to accomplish paring the deficit and creating said funds by cutting costs for Medicare and Medicaid.
What are the Republicans & Democrats saying about this proposal?
It seems a bit surprising, in that the proposals made by the President have been viewed as bipartisan. Democrats have been hoping to employ Medicare as an issue against Republicans in the 2012 campaign, after Republicans favored a budget that would have altered Medicare by providing future beneficiaries with a subsidy to subscribe to private health care plans.
In other words, the Democrats aren’t happy about the President’s proposal to alter Medicare and Medicaid in order to boost the economy and create jobs. Not only because of what it will do to the elderly, but also what it will do to a powerful part of campaigning against Republicans in 2012.
Naturally, talks of how to cut these costs and figuring out what to do about it in today’s struggling economy is a big debate, and there are no easy answers that both Houses can agree on.
Republicans can agree with Obama on this issue, and on this one issue if nothing else, they give him credit for recognizing the growing issue of paying for Medicare and Medicaid – as these health benefits for the elderly are most definitely the most substantial of the nation’s long-term liabilities.
How are Health Care Providers affected?
Health Care Providers have reason to worry about this proposal. It comes on top of the new health care law, which has reduced payments to a majority of health care providers to help offset the cost of extending coverage to the millions of Americans who are uninsured. This new health care law has been the catalyst for much heated debate acrossAmerica.
Will Social Security be affected?
However, Social Security wasn’t a topic of proposed cuts to save money to boost the economy. Though the President made it clear that he proposes to cut health spending, he didn’t say anything that hinted at cutting towards Social Security. This has been a concern for many, as in budget talks with Republicans this year, one idea for the budget was to change the way annual increases in payments for social security are calculated. Still, the President did not mention such changes to Social Security in his latest speech.
What are some of the parameters of the proposal to cute Medicaid & Medicare?
Indeed, Medicare and Medicaid have accounted for 23% of federal spending this year, which is a mighty chunk. The costs are still growing for the baby-boomer generation, and growing faster than the rest of the budget because of increasing enrollment and medical inflation.
Still, we all may ask, how can Medicare and Medicaid sustain additional cuts, whether in benefits or provider payments, and still function?
Representative Allyson Schwartz, Democrat of Pennsylvania, says that now is not a good time to consider changes in the health program, before giving the new health care law a chance to make a difference in the economy. He said “We ought to let the innovations in the new health care law take hold…. They can save significant dollars in the long term by reducing medical errors and complications and improving the quality of care”.
Many also argue that further cuts in Medicare and Medicaid would not only create problems for the elderly to receive care, but would also lead to job loss in the health care industry, and could effectively be counter-productive in creating jobs and boosting the economy.
So would the new proposal by the President solve the nation’s problems? Or would it just create more? Making a cut to Medicare and Medicaid could have a disastrous effect. Nursing Homes across the nation would be greatly affected, that is without a doubt. However, would there be new initiatives to balance the disastrous effect it would have for our nation’s elderly? Tell us what you think.