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Dr. Obama and Dr. Pelosi to America’s Seniors: “Take $523.5 Billion in Medicare Cuts; Don’t Call Us in the Morning”

March 19, 2010 — The Prescription Pad   

Having ignored the Medicare Actuaries’ warnings,
Democrats prescribe additional cuts to seniors’ safety-net program

The Senate Democrats’ health bill cuts Medicare by a whopping $463 billion.  These cuts were so drastic that the Obama Administration’s own Medicare Actuaries predicted that providers might end their participation in the program (possibly jeopardizing access to care for beneficiaries).” But President Obama and Congressional Democrats ignored this warning and pressed ahead with $60.5 billion in additional Medicare cuts in their “reconciliation bill” (H.R. 4872), bringing the grand total to a staggering $523.5 billion to fund a new entitlement. 

These cuts include:

  • $202.3 billion in cuts to seniors’ Medicare health plans, including massive cuts targeting the extra benefits and reduced cost-sharing seniors receive through Medicare Advantage (MA).  CBO had predicted a similar policy would rob 3 million seniors currently receiving their health benefits through Medicare plan, while the independent Medicare Payment Advisory Commission (MedPAC) predicted 1 in 5 seniors would no longer be able to enroll in MA as a result of this policy.
  • $156.6 billion in cuts to inpatient and outpatient hospital services, inpatient rehabilitation facilities (IRFs), long-term care hospitals (LTCHs),  inpatient psychiatric hospitals, skilled nursing facilities (SNFs), Ambulatory Surgical Centers (ASCs), hospice, ambulances, dialysis facilities, labs and durable medical equipment (DME) suppliers by permanently instituting a new “productivity adjustment” payment cut, which Democrats assume will make providers more efficient in delivering care.  Inpatient and outpatient hospital services, inpatient rehabilitation facilities (IRFs), long-term care hospitals (LTCHs), inpatient psychiatric hospitals, hospice, labs and DME suppliers are further subject to years of additional cuts to their reimbursement rates through reduced “market basket updates”.   
  • $39.7 billion in cuts to home health reimbursements
  • $22.1 billion in additional cuts to hospitals by slashing reimbursements designed to assist hospitals that serve low-income patients. 
  • $20.7 billion in cuts to the Medicare Improvement Fund, which had been intended to fund improvements to seniors’ Medicare benefits, not to finance a new entitlement. 
  • $13.3 billion in yet-to-be-determined Medicare cuts from the hands of an unelected federal board. 
  • $2.3 billion in cuts to imaging reimbursements when seniors use MRIs, CT scans, etc.
  • $800 million in cuts to power wheelchair suppliers.
  • $65.7 billion in money taken from seniors in the form of higher premiums and additional cuts to Medicare beneficiaries and providers.