Monday, February 19, 2007

Further Cutbacks Proposed by Bush

Featured in: President Bush's new proposals for cutbacks to Medicare and Public Health Funding will impact RHIO development
Further Barriers to Implementing RHIOs Submitted by gmlevinmd123 on Mon, 02/19/2007 - 9:41am.
The catch 22 of Pay for Performance. The health insurance industry as represented by IHA is big on P4P and medicare is following suit without waiting for health IT to catch up so that it can be implemented properly.. At the same time it is espousing paying MDs for improving quality the administration defocuses and presents these new proposals. Write your Congressman!!
Physicians not only pay a fair share of taxes, but are now being asked in some states (California-Schwarzzenegger proposal) to pay a 2% surtax at the state level to fund expansion of insurance to the uninsured...??undocumented aliens, as well??
Even large medical groups will not remain immune to these cutbacks, especially hard hit will be MD providers who have a disproportionate amount of seniors, ie, ophthalmologists, urologists, geriatricians, cardiologists, urologists, and more.
Washington -- President Bush presented an austere fiscal year 2008 budget to Congress earlier this month, pledging no new money for Medicare physician reimbursements and proposing to slash the rate of public health program growth in other areas.
If no changes are made, doctors could see an across-the-board cut of 10% or more next calendar year.
"Without adequate funding, physicians cannot make needed investments in health information technology and quality improvement, and seniors' access to health care is placed at risk."
Several times in the past, the White House budget has not set aside money to boost doctor pay, but lawmakers have approved such appropriations anyway.
Bush has called on Congress to increase defense spending while eliminating the federal budget deficit by 2012. The plan assumes not only that physicians will undergo yearly Medicare rate reductions for each of the next five years but that lawmakers will approve more than $75 billion in additional Medicare reductions over that time. The proposal would slow the program's projected growth rate from 6.5% to 5.6% over five years.
For those of you who like to watch government budget projections, here is a summary:
Target: Medicare
President Bush has proposed cutting Medicare's projected spending by more than $75 billion over the next five years. Here are some of the biggest ways the White House hopes to save the government money:
5-year savings
Inpatient hospital updates of inflation minus 0.65% each year
$13.8 billion
Home health agency updates of 0% each year
$9.7 billion
Skilled nursing facility updates of 0% in 2008 and inflation minus 0.65% each following year
$9.2 billion
Part B premiums increased for patients with higher incomes
$7.1 billion
Outpatient hospital updates of inflation minus 0.65% each year
$3.4 billion
Part D premiums increased for patients with higher incomes
$3.2 billion
Source: White House budget proposal
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Gary Levin MD
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