“We have a plan. It’s called Medicare,” House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi told The Washington Post last week. “We gave the blueprint for how we strengthen Medicare in the Affordable Care Act,” Pelosi told the Post from Wisconsin where she was on a tour demagoguing against House Budget Committee Chairman’s Paul Ryan budget. Democrats claim Ryan’s budget “ends Medicare as we know it.” Problem is, as the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) detailed in a report released Friday, under the Democrats plan, Medicare “as we know it” won’t be around for much longer.
Democrats are claiming that Ryan’s plan will force seniors to pay $6,400 a year more for health care than current law. But as the CMS reported Friday, the only way Medicare manages to achieve those savings is by paying doctor’s less. A lot less. In 2009, Medicare paid doctors about 80% if what private health insurance paid. Under the Democrats plan that number would decline to 57% by 2012. By 2085, Medicare would only be paying 27% of what private insurance pays. Would this effect the quality of care Medicare recipients receive? Absolutely CMS reports:
In the Office of the Actuary‘s April 22, 2010 memorandum on the estimated financial effects of the Affordable Care Act, we noted that by 2019 the update reductions would result in negative total facility margins for about 15 percent of hospitals, skilled nursing facilities, and home health agencies. This estimated percentage would continue to increase, reaching roughly 25 percent in 2030 and 40 percent by 2050. … Similarly, Dr. Joseph Newhouse wrote in an article for Health Affairs, “…it is equally hard to imagine cutting only Medicare spending while spending by the commercially insured under age sixty-five continues to grow at historic rates, which would lead to a marked divergence between what providers are paid for treating the commercially insured relative to what they are paid for Medicare beneficiaries. This gap could jeopardize Medicare beneficiaries‘ access to mainstream medical care.
Seniors currently expect that their Medicare coverage will provide them with the same access and quality of health care it always has. That is just not true. The Democrats Medicare plan contains drastic cuts to doctor payments that will make it next to impossible for Medicare beneficiaries to actually obtain health care coverage.
The only plan that saves “Medicare as we know it” for today’s seniors is Ryan’s Path to Prosperity.