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Grandma Should Fear Obama’s Medicare Cuts

An opinion piece from the New York Post:

Dems’ Medicare lie: Why granny should be afraid

By Betsy McCaughey | Monday August 20, 2012

President Obama is criss-crossing the country, warning that Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan would “end Medicare as we know it.” Attention, New York’s 3 million seniors: Don’t be fooled. It’s the Obama health law that destroyed Medicare, though the impact will not be felt for another year or more.

Scientific evidence indicates that the changes made by ObamaCare will shorten the lives of some elderly hospital patients and make it hard for Medicare enrollees to get treated. The only thing left of Medicare is the membership card.

ObamaCare cuts future funding for Medicare by over half a trillion dollars in the next 10 years. Most cuts are made by slashing what hospitals, physicians, hospice care and dialysis centers will be paid. Doctors will get less to care for a senior than for a patient on Medicaid and only a third of what a doctor will be paid to care for a patient with private insurance. New York, the hospital capital of the nation, will be especially hard hit.

Last year, Richard Foster, chief actuary for Medicare, warned Congress that seniors will have difficulty finding doctors and institutions to accept Medicare. Doctors who do accept Medicare will not want to spend time doing procedures such as hip replacements, when the pay is so low. Yet the law bars them from providing the care you want for an extra fee. You’re trapped.

Foster also warned that within a decade, 40 percent of health-care institutions could be forced to operate at a loss. New York hospitals are bracing for the hit.

When hospitals run in the red, they can employ fewer nurses and buy less diagnostic equipment.

Cutting hospital payment rates has been tried before, with deadly results. When Medicare cut payments to hospitals in 1997, hospitals hit with the biggest cuts saw death rates for elderly heart-attack patients go up. A $1,000 reduction in what hospitals could spend on a heart-attack patient led to a 6 percent to 8 percent hike in the death rate, due to fewer nurses and other staff, according to a 2011 National Bureau of Economic Research paper.

Apply that to the Obama health law. In 2019, according to Medicare’s actuaries, the program will spend $1,431 less per enrollee than if the health law had not been enacted. But that’s on average. The one in five enrollees who will need hospital care that year could see it fall by $6,000 or more.

When partisans for ObamaCare say cutting hospital payments will not impact care, don’t believe it. Cuts will result in fewer elderly patients surviving their hospital stays.

Seniors also risk losing access to colonoscopies and other preventative services. The Obama health law empowers the secretary of Health and Human Services to eliminate preventative services for seniors based on the recommendations of the US Preventative Services Task Force (the panel that recommended women over 74 not get routine mammograms). A half page later the secretary is empowered to “increase” preventative services for Medicaid recipients. The winners and losers are clear.

As of October 2012, hospitals that spend the least on seniors will get rewarded; those that spend more will get whacked with demerits. The government calls it “efficiency,” but it’s stingy care.

Data from all hospitals in California show that seniors treated in hospitals providing lower-intensity, lower-cost care have a higher risk of dying instead of recovering and going home. Yet, the Obama administration is pressuring all hospitals to imitate the low-spending ones.

The election should not turn on the lie that Obama will protect Medicare as we’ve known it. Unless the Obama health law is repealed, seniors will have difficulty getting the care they need, and some will die sooner.

Repeal is the key issue in the presidential election, not the merits of Paul Ryan’s alternative proposals. If the Romney-Ryan ticket wins, these proposals will go through many changes during the lawmaking process. But ObamaCare is already the law, and it’s dangerous.

Read it and weep.

This article was posted by Steve on Tuesday, August 21st, 2012. Comments are currently closed.

2 Responses to “Grandma Should Fear Obama’s Medicare Cuts”

  1. canary says:

    The Republicans should do an add with Obama’s grandmother who raised him and say Obama used her hip surgery as an example of a waste of money. Well, actually he said we should decide if this is a waste of money for old people to have hip surgery as many end up like his grandmother. I don’t think he means for the people to vote on it though.

    Or do a spoof of his grandmother protecting him against gang bangers and him pulling away and running back across the street and walking with the thugs flipping his grandmother. We could use some citizens making creative videos like that.

  2. untrainable says:

    Language is key to Obama’s lies. The one thing he does is test specific language to make sure the optics of any statement are good. The words don’t have to mean anything, they just have to sound good. (Is that still optics, or should we call it auptics?) But it strikes me that Obama, and Biden, and Wasserman Schultz, and Axlerod all make a point of describing what Ryan’s plan will destroy… or shred… or end… as “medicare as we know it. The “as we know it” is always there. Like ending medicare as we know it would be a bad thing. HELLOOO! Medicare is a mess. It’s going bankrupt.

    Obamacare doesn’t save medicare “as we know it”. And why should we want to? It’s a mess. Physicians have been backing their practices away from medicare for years because they just can’t afford it. Once the payments to providers go even lower than “as we know it”, doctors will simply stop providing. And who could blame them? If the government came to your job and pulled you to do that same job for the state, you might think about it. Until they tell you that you’ll only be paid 20% of your private sector job salary. Problem solved. They’re getting the same work for 20% cost. Now we can send that saved, and much needed money to China so they can teach prostitutes how to be more responsible with their alcoholism.

    Romney/Ryan should ask, “Do you want medicare ‘as we know it’, a system that cheats patients and doctors and that is guaranteed to be bankrupt within the next decade… or do you want a medicare that is sustainable and that will be there for you, if and when you need it?” There’s your choice.

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