nos-trum. pronunciation: \nos'-trum\. noun. Etymology: Latin, neuter of noster our, ours.
1. a medicine of secret composition recommended by its preparer but usually without scientific proof of its effectiveness.
2. a usually questionable remedy or scheme.
See here for more discussion.

Friday, August 6, 2010

HCR Cuts To Medicare Impacts Some Seniors More Than Others

If I was still doing the Poison Pill count, I don't know what number this would be.  30?

The health care reform law cuts about $500B from Medicare.  You know all the funny math stuff; it was touted as a "savings," but actually gets spent on new programs created by the law.  I wish my budget worked that way.

A good part of those cuts comes from reduction in the Medicare Advantage program,  About 11 million seniors have signed up.  Critics said the cuts would force insurers to decrease benefits or close down, which supporters denied.  Now Medicare is saying that the 11 million covered will probably drop to around 7 million.

But that's not the Poison Pill.  The bad medicine taste comes from the fact that seniors will be impacted differently, depending on where they live.
--Although Congress set the highest funding rate for those counties where the government spends the least on traditional Medicare in which doctors and hospitals charge specific fees for individual services, the trims in the new payment system could still cause plans in those areas to reduce benefits or shut down.

--At the same time, plans in higher-cost markets where the government spends the most on traditional Medicare, which will get the lowest rate of federal funding, might continue to operate as they do today.
It's a quirk in the way Medicare is funded.  (Kaiser Health News, Aug 6)

For a full explanation go here, but be ready for some complex reasoning and financial scoring of costs. 

It's arguable, but I follow the logic.  Bottom line, if you live in a low cost area, you are going to be gouged more by the cuts.
And this creates a disparate effect on different parts of the country.  Another Poison Pill.
Doc D

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