Thursday, August 05, 2010

Medicare, Good News, Bad News

First the good news. The latest Medicare Trustee report says there is enough money to fund Medicare an additional 12 years. And everyone cheered . . .

But wait, there's more!

The life support only happens if Obamacare delivers on the cost reductions supposedly built in to saving Medicare.

To remain solvent, Medicare and Social Security will have to rely on withdrawals from the Trust Fund.

The one kept in a hermetically sealed mayonnaise on jar on Funk and Wagnall's porch.

The trust fund, which exists in paper form in a filing cabinet in Parkersburg, W.Va., are bonds backed by the government's "full faith and credit" but not by any actual assets. That trust fund, currently at $2.5 trillion, has been spent over the years to fund other parts of government.

To redeem the trust fund bonds, the government will have to borrow in public debt markets or raise taxes.


Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, another trustee, told reporters that the trustees assumed current law in making their projections, including a cut in doctor's Medicare payments of 23 percent starting in December.

Yeah, that will work.

Wonder how the docs feel about that?

And what about folks on Medicare who are told their doctor cannot afford to see them this week, or next week, or the week after . . .

This assumes of course you can find a doc that is accepting new Medicare patients.

A companion report concluded that some of the $575 billion in Medicare savings over 10 years "may be unrealistic" because future Congresses could be pressured to roll back cuts to providers in the health care law.

Unrealistic? Say it ain't so!

Just because Congress has rolled back the Medicare reimbursement cuts for the last dozen years or so doesn't mean they will continue to ignore the law they wrote which REQUIRES CMS to cut doctor reimbursements.

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