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November 5th, 2009 11:37 am
CBO Skeptical of Medicare “Savings”
Posted by Print

Part of the so-called “cost savings” in the House version of health care reform are premised on large cuts to Medicare, a typical sore spot for senior citizens.

One area that is scheduled to be on the chopping block is reimbursement payments to physicians participating in the Medicare program.  Current reimbursement rates are insultingly low, and as a result, some doctors refuse to even participate in Medicare.

The House health care bill calls for an additional 21 percent reduction in payments to physicians, to begin in 2010. Judging from this CBO statement, even the green eyeshade folks don’t believe Congress will allow doctors to take another hit to reimbursement rates:

The bill would put into effect (or leave in effect) a number of procedures that might be difficult to maintain over a long period of time. It would leave in place the 21 percent reduction in the payment rates for physicians currently scheduled for 2010. At the same time, the bill includes a number of provisions that would constrain payment rates for other providers of Medicare services.”

Any failure to contain Medicare costs, despite the surge of new beneficiaries over the next decade, will surely turn health care reform into another budget-breaker.

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