Politics

Medicare Cuts Killing Seniors

medicare (2)from – CFIF.org – by Betsy McCaughey

President Obama’s Medicare cuts are killing seniors. His health law changed Medicare, adding bonuses for hospitals that spend the least per senior. The result? Hundreds of hospitals are skimping on care to win bonuses. Seniors at these hospitals aren’t getting the right antibiotic or other treatments they need. They’re dying from pneumonia, heart attacks and heart failure at higher rates than patients in other hospitals that provide more care.

So much for Obama’s promise that cutting Medicare wouldn’t harm seniors.

News of the deaths at low spending hospitals, reported in Health Affairs, comes just as GOP front-runner Donald Trump meets with House Speaker Paul Ryan. Medicare cuts are on the long list of policy disagreements between the two Republicans. Trump pledges not to cut Medicare. Ryan and GOP members of Congress are pushing to repeal Obamacare but want to keep Obama’s Medicare cuts. Trump is right on this one.

The report found that 231 hospitals rewarded with Medicare bonuses for low spending per senior provide inferior care. Seniors having heart attacks wait too long for angioplasties, for example. They’re dying when they would survive at a higher-spending hospital.

Sec. 3001 of The Affordable Care Act claims to tie these bonuses to “quality” but hospitals can win the most points — and biggest Medicare bonuses — by spending the least. Never mind who perishes.

The Obama administration was warned that rewarding low-spending hospitals could be dangerous to seniors’ health. Reports in the journal Circulation and in the Archives of Internal Medicine showed more deaths at low-spending hospitals. In fact, 17,822 seniors who died over four years in the lowest-spending hospitals in California would have survived with more care.

Bonuses aren’t the only dangerous incentives built into the president’s health law. Obamacare overhauls how Medicare pays doctors and hospitals. Providers keep more for themselves when their patients get fewer tests, see fewer specialists, and go directly home from the hospital without recuperating at rehab. More money for less care. It sets up a conflict of interest between patients and doctors.

When Medicare was enacted in 1965, the law barred the government from interfering in how doctors treated patients. Over the decades, that protection eroded slightly, but Obamacare guts it entirely, turning the financial screws on doctors and hospitals to limit care.

Ignoring this reality, the Clinton campaign is road-testing a new scaremongering attack against Trump, calling him a “heartless tycoon” who would put Medicare at risk.

The truth is, Trump vows to undo Obamacare’s Medicare cuts. The heartless ones are the Democrats, who are willing to slash Medicare to pay for Obamacare. Subsidies for health plan buyers on the exchanges will cost $800 billion in the next decade. And to pay the tab, Medicare will be cut by precisely that amount over the same period, says the Congressional Budget Office.

The Democrats’ agenda is clear: Robbing Grandma to pay for a new entitlement for younger constituents.

Republicans should repeal all of Obamacare, including the Medicare cuts, so seniors will get the care they need.

Unfortunately, that is not Ryan’s plan. His GOP replacement for Obamacare — soon to be unveiled — will include subsidies for consumers to buy health plans. It’s Obamacare lite — a new entitlement paid for by continuing the Medicare cuts. That’s morally wrong.

No Republican health bill should be paid for on the backs of seniors.

As for Medicare’s finances, they’re in trouble. Medicare Trustees predict the Hospital Fund will go dry by 2030. Obama’s Medicare cuts didn’t help, because he spent the “savings” on his costly health law.

Republican proposals, like raising the eligibility age, asking wealthier seniors for higher premiums and adding private plan options, would help keep Medicare solvent. Trump and Ryan probably won’t discuss these details on Thursday. But one lesson they must take away from the grim report on hospital skimping: Medicare reform should not cost seniors their lives.

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MaryAnne

I, too would like to see AMAC produce a nationwide list of hospitals receiving those bonuses.

piet sundman

It would be helpful for Amac to publish a state by state listing of the hospitals that received a bonus. This would give members practical information to use while choosing a provider.

76er

stop presidential pensions, along with ludicr penions use congressional and all goverermental bonuses for those above gs15 level. stop all illegal benefis to illegals , no more immigaration nor foreign aid until we stop this messed up system of government(if you call this a government. revolt started with a tea tax .

BARB

In my opinion until one is themselves a senior, and not particularly very old at that, one cannot understand how valuable life is and has been. We feel just the same as we always did and some of us that are fortunate are very healthy but we do deserve to be able to remain healthy. Perhaps the younger generation just wants us all to die and so to enable that to happen they will deprive us of what we have earned, yes earned not entitlement. Obama has had eight years to ruin this country in many ways and Obama Care is one of them. My physician of twenty-five years is going to a plan called MDVIP and for approximately $1,500 per year 600 of his current patients will have first come, first serve access to him on an as needed basis. I suppose the rest of us (4,000 patients of… Read more »

HAM

AMAC should be championing to restore Medicare benefits cut because of Obamacare. They claim their goal is fighting for Seniors not just endorsing whatever ideas come out of DC, off the backs of Seniors. HMO’s which pay doctors and hospitals “up front” for Seniors healthcare are horrible plans. They do exactly what is described in the above article. Money is deducted from the prepaid plans (money paid “up front” at the 1st of the year) if doctors refer a patient to a specialist or authorize certain tests and hospitals for certain treatments. Some HMO Medicare Advantage plans are fee-for-service, are affordabe and are preferable over prepaid plans for obvious reasons. I just hope these plans will still be available in 2017!! It’s important to review your plan every year. On top of the “savings” mentioned in the article, which was not used toward Medicare funding, Obama stole 8 billion dollars… Read more »

Dave T

This is an exellent opportunity for A MAC to add to their credibility by publishing or linking to the “bonus ” hospitals. Will be watching for response from AMAC….

Sharon

I too would truly love AMAC to publish that list the hospitals that skimp on care!
Where are the ethical doctors and nurses gone??? How could these OATH taking healthcare providers allow this to happen????
Please AMAC, please publish the list of these “sleezy” hospitals.
Thank you

Loretta Hanson

I totally agree with your article – and Paul Ryan is wrong……hospitals should NOT get subsidies for lesser care!! and Obamacare should be abolished.
Let’s go back to our original private heath plans but open it up to all states to compete. Low income people always got care with Medicaid. We don’t
need to subsidize them. Also, illegals should not receive benefits forever. Once helped, they should be deported or at least pay their own way – not
always take from the taxpayers and retired seniors.

Gary

Do you and can you provide a list of these hospitals?

George Ross

My wife and I are retired. We both worked all our lives earning modest incomes. We lived below our means and saved and invested as much as possible so that would be able to live comfortably in our retirement. If the Congressional Republicans pass their plan, they will be punishing those that believed President Reagan when he and Congress raised the FICA tax. They said the taxes the baby boomers pay would be prepaying for their Social Security benefits. A much better method of addressing the Social Security System financial crisis would be for Congress to fund the trillions of IOU’s the Congress has written to the Social Security System. The Clinton administration and Congress passed a tax on Social Security benefits of those that earn additional money while receiving Social Security benefits. The money we receive from our investments makes our Social Security benefits taxable. We are being double… Read more »

Deeksmom

Does anyone think it’s interesting that if you are Medicare eligible and you don’t apply for it you are penalized and the penalty is ongoing not just a one time penalty? The government wants you on Medicare so they can control you. Once they have control over you they can control whether you live or die. And the Dems say the Republicans want you to die and die early! We have come to the point where we no longer value life – at the beginning or at the end. I’m 65 and still work 55 hours a week in my own small business. I am a productive member of society and have value except when the government looks at me. The government wants my taxes and my Medicare premiums but they don’t value me. They do value potential voters – illegal aliens that they want to give amnesty and citizenship… Read more »

Robert Jeffries

All the elderly politicians need a good dose of reality. When they pass a law ALL people MUST go under that law. They exempt themselves from soo many laws that they pass it is a FARCE. That is why they think they are above the law.

Tom Morris

In the time since the government got into the business of healthcare with Medicare, the cost of health care went up dramatically.
In the time the government got into student loans, the cost of an education went up dramatically.
In the time the government got into Obamacare, the cost of health care went up even more dramatically.
Does anyone see a pattern here, and can anyone recognize a solution?

Sally Hobbs

How do we get the list of hospitals that receive the bonuses? If we could get the list and all seniors avoid those hospitals, then it would stop!

Rosalinda Delmoni

AMAC – PLEASE, if at all possible, provide us with the names of these hospitals who are, as far as I am concerned, murderers. This entire Health Care Law is a plan for murder of the old people. I have followed this law from its inception but was not aware that Paul Ryan was planning to keep the cuts to medicare. He will be hearing from me by a letter but that means nothing. I am disgusted with politics. What has happened to our beautiful country? These politicians should have the same rules as we do under this new Health Care Law.

Tom

Anyone believing that the radical liberal’s intentions are to make health care better are blind. The major objective is to create a single payer system involving all insurance types, completely controlled by government. Is this current system of paying bonuses not a form of rationing? You bet it is. Next will come death panels. Ask yourself why liberals would want to kill off seniors? Then use some rational thinking to connect their immigration plans; that is allowing many younger people to enter this country illegally and stay here. They want to replace aging seniors, who will not be voting much longer, with a much younger group that will be voting for quite a long time. And these imports will likely be given welfare and other “entitlements” to ensure that they will vote for democrats. This is all part of the liberals long term plan to keep American under the yoke… Read more »

Joseph DeLucia

The socialist agenda does not value seniors and the contributions we have made to this country. Hence, the sooner we die off, the better they like it. Too many students of Saul Olinsky in Washington. As much shame on speaker Paul Ryan as the socialists!

Mike

The people need to demand that congress and the senate be provided the same insurance options that the people they represent have. To the point of only supporting candidates that would support this. This should also include peaceful protest and marches on Washington.

Tim Kenner

How about a list of those hospitals that are receiving the bonuses and restricting care to seniors, perhaps we Medicare patients can avoid them and affect their revenue stream? We’ll have them screaming at the top of their lungs to CMS. Got to hit them in the wallet!

Ray

Is it possible to receive a list of the hospitals that have received these “bonuses”‘, so that families with aging parents and other seniors can choose hospitals that advocate for the health and welfare of their patients . Given that information, families can avoid being admitted to these institutions, and once the word gets around , perhaps the bottom line of these institutions would be affected because of the empty beds.
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