“Write your future plans in pencil…” No truer words were spoken. Never did I think as I stood on the stage of my graduation with a Master degree and high honors that my bright future would be abruptly ended by chronic illness and disability. Yet, here I am. You stated in your article “give them the facts. I think we owe them that much”. We do owe “everyone” that much, and here are the facts. As stated by the site created by Medicare itself “It is important to remember that you may need long-term care at any age…people who have a chronic illness or disability”. It is also likely that these people, a great number who will never recover but whom will live a long life, will require the use of a type of Medicare and Medicare Advantage Plan for much longer than a senior citizen. Therefore, to represent this population, I say, yes, Obamacare frightens us. My most recent stint in the hospital, an unplanned and unexpected illness which resulted in temporary kidney damage, could have resulted in death if not for my Medicare and Medicare Advantage Plan. Even though my husband and I teeter on the brink of bankruptcy, like so many of my middle aged peers whom are suddenly unable to work due to disability, more than “sixty-three million people”, we are still able to AFFORD a medicare advantage plan. Unlike many of my peers who not only cannot afford one, but also cannot even get Medicare due to stringent rules and a long waiting line for court dates. My week long hospital stay, plus home care and rehab resulted in full recovery of my kidney function, and also a bill for nearly $50,000 which was covered primarily by Medicare and then my Medicare Advantage Plan. If not for these programs, I would have died as my husband and I are broke as a result of medical bills not covered by these two entities. This is what terrifies many Americans, disabled and elderly, who live with chronic and disabling illness. We must remember Obamacare may decide not only the future of the elderly who would like to join a gym, but the future of people of ALL ages and their families whom even under the current guidelines are struggling to SURVIVE. Yes, I am here in the trenches with so many struggling to survive with chronic illness in a country that may decided I am not worthy to do so. I think I am owed more at this juncture in my life, after all of the good I contributed to this society, than to die unnecessarily due to the financial inconvenience it may cause. We must REMEMBER them, and I, for one, think we “owe them that much”. “Lest we forget…” http://www.medicare.gov/longtermcare/static/home.asp http://content.healthaffairs.org/content/28/1/64.full
Medicare Sustainable Growth Rate
Section 101 of the Tax Relief and Health Care Act of 2006 (MIEA-TRHCA) provided a 1-year update of 0% for the conversion factor for CY 2007 and specified that the conversion factor for CY 2008 must be computed as if the 1-year update had never applied. Section 101 of the Medicare, Medicaid, and SCHIP Extension Act of 2007 (MMSEA) provided a 6-month increase of 0.5% in the CY 2008 conversion factor, from January 1, 2008, through June 30, 2008, and specified that the conversion factor for the remaining portion of 2008 and the conversion factors for CY 2009 and subsequent years must be computed as if the 6-month increase had never applied. Section 131 of the Medicare Improvements for Patients and Providers Act of 2008 (MIPPA) extended the increase in the CY 2008 conversion factor that was applicable for the first half of the year to the entire year, provided for a 1.1% increase to the CY 2009 conversion factor, and specified that the conversion factors for CY 2010 and subsequent years must be computed as if the increases had never applied.
Medicare Cuts To Doctors Payments Go Into Effect Today
The Jackson Clarion Ledger: “Centers for Medicare and Medical Services said all Medicare reimbursements filed by physicians will be held for the next 10 business days, effective Monday, to give Congress additional time to debate the issue” (Watkins, 2/28). Fort Worth Business Press reports on statements from Dr. William Fleming III, president of the Texas Medical Association. In a statement, he said “‘For the past nine years, the cost of running a doctor’s office has increased dramatically. At the same time, what the government pays your doctor to care for Medicare patients has not kept pace. The flawed payment system is unsustainable. … In fact, come March 1, when the 21.2 percent cut goes into effect, physicians will receive less from Medicare than they currently receive from Medicaid. This is appalling because no one pays less than Medicaid'” (Bassett, 3/1). McKnight’s Long Term Care reports that the Senate bill failed to gain enough bipartisan support to prevent the cuts. “During negotiations, retiring Sen. Jim Bunning (R-KY) repeatedly blocked the bill, arguing that its $10 billion price tag was too much of a burden on the already massive federal budget deficit, according to the Associated Press. The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services could choose to withhold payments to Medicare physician until a solution can be found. It would be a remedy that physician groups favor because they then would avert having to later refile claims that were paid at a lower rate if a fix to the payment formula is decided upon soon, which many observers expect” (3/1). Health and Age: “According to a recent poll of neurosurgeons, nearly 40% indicated that they would cut back on seeing new Medicare patients if Medicare reimbursement continues to fall. And, 18% of the neurosurgeons surveyed indicated that they would stop accepting new Medicare patients entirely. Even established Medicare patients are at risk, as 27% of these surgeons said they would treat fewer established Medicare patients if this bill is passed” (Chen, 3/1). NPR reports on the issue’s long history: “The story goes all the way back to 1965, when the federal government was about to launch Medicare – the health-insurance plan for the elderly. The idea of a government-run health-insurance plan made doctors nervous, and Lyndon Johnson’s administration was worried that doctors wouldn’t take Medicare patients. So Joseph Califano, Johnson’s adviser for domestic affairs, made what seemed like a small concession: Medicare would pay doctors whatever they thought was reasonable. … Within two years, Johnson’s advisers saw that the amount Medicare was paying doctors was rising far more quickly than had been anticipated. They wanted … Congress to change the payment structure. But doctors, who had a lot of sway with Congress, found they liked the payment system. So the system stayed in place for decades, as medicine got more expensive.” “Then, in 1986, a Harvard economist named William Hsiao decided to figure out a better way to pay doctors. He thought he could figure out the right price for each and every thing a doctor does. … In 1992, Congress adopted Hsiao’s physician-payment scale, and it worked – but only for a few years. … Congress tried to slow the growth of doctor pay by saying total payments to doctors could not grow faster than the overall economy. When the total amount Medicare was paying to doctors grew faster than the overall economy, the rates for each procedure and service were supposed to be cut. But doctors, naturally, lobbied against letting those cuts take effect” (Kestenbaum and Joffe-Walt, 2/26). The Sioux Falls Argus Leader: “Doctors and their clinics might need to reconsider how they handle Medicare patients, and some are prepared to stop accepting them for care, [Dr. Thomas Huber, president of the South Dakota State Medical Association] said. … Mike Fierberg, a spokesman for the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, said the government has taken steps to deal with the problem including instructing ‘contractors to hold all claims starting Monday for 10 business days’ … That maneuver creates a window for the Senate to take action to prevent the cut, he said. Medical offices that file claims for serving patients on Medicare typically are paid within 15 days if they file electronically and within 29 days if they file with paper. The additional 10-day hold protects the care providers, he said” (Walker, 2/27).
Fact Check: Obamacare’s Medicare Cuts
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America’s Health Insurance Plans
The Coalition for Medicare Choices is a rapidly growing organization of Medicare Advantage beneficiaries. More than 1.4 million Americans in 50 states have joined the Coalition to protect the benefits they receive through their Medicare Advantage plan. Together, we are working to show Congress that Medicare Advantage plans provide critical benefits and lower out-of-pocket costs to millions of beneficiaries. As Congress debates potential changes to Medicare Advantage, we will make certain that your voices are heard. The Coalition for Medicare Choices is administered by America’s Health Insurance Plans, the national association representing nearly 1,300 member companies providing health insurance coverage to more than 200 million Americans.