May 26, 2011

Medicare trustees: we're heading for a crash

Republican Response: Ryan plan, which doesn’t affect those currently receiving Medicare benefits, and phases in a platinum plan for seniors similar to that given to members of Congress.

Democrat (and Newt Gingrich) response: We got nothing. But PAUL RYAN AND THE GOP WANT TO KILL OLD PEOPLE! LIKE, DEAD!

And our side can’t win the messaging battle on this issue?

From the Trustees report:

In past reports, and again this year, the Board of Trustees has emphasized the strong likelihood that actual Part B expenditures will exceed the projections under current law due to further legislative action to avoid substantial reductions in the Medicare physician fee schedule. While the Part B projections in this report are reasonable in their portrayal of future costs under current law, they are not reasonable as an indication of actual future costs. Current law would require a physician fee reduction of an estimated 29.4 percent on January 1, 2012—an implausible expectation.


Without major changes in health care delivery systems, the prices paid by Medicare for health services [under the cuts required in the new law] are very likely to fall increasingly short of the costs of providing these services. By the end of the long-range projection period, Medicare prices for hospital, skilled nursing facility, home health, hospice, ambulatory surgical center, diagnostic laboratory, and many other services would be less than half of their level under the prior law. Medicare prices would be considerably below the current relative level of Medicaid prices, which have already led to access problems for Medicaid enrollees, and far below the levels paid by private health insurance. Well before that point, Congress would have to intervene to prevent the withdrawal of providers from the Medicare market and the severe problems with beneficiary access to care that would result. Overriding the productivity adjustments, as Congress has done repeatedly in the case of physician payment rates, would lead to far higher costs for Medicare in the long range than those projected under current law.


For these reasons, the financial projections shown in this report for Medicare do not represent a reasonable expectation for actual program operations in either the short range (as a result of the unsustainable reductions in physician payment rates) or the long range (because of the strong likelihood that the statutory reductions in price updates for most categories of Medicare provider services will not be viable).

Yeah, yeah. Whatever.

Look! Bunnies! Old, frail bunnies still brimming with elderly wisdom being drowned by PAUL RYAN!

Posted by Jeff G. @ 9:13am

Comments (5)

  1. Shamelessly off topic, but that Judge in Wisconsin has struck down the Wisconsin PEU collective bargaining reform law

    They just can’t help themselves but succumb to the temptation to legislate from the bench.

    This is a blatant politicization, bent on keeping the outrage alive through the summer until the recall elections take place; to motivate the Democrat base.

  2. Well, at least Ryan got a boost by his conversation wif “Da Big Dawg” being captured on tape by ABC; where he agrees with Ryan, shares his fear that the Dems will do nothing, and basically says call me anytime you want to talk about making this happen…

    What kind of bizarro world is this where Gingrich is joining the Dems in demagoguing the issue of medicare reform and Bill Clinton is talking about the need for reform and offering to help Ryan make it happen?!?

    You know, maybe he’s free from the need to give a frig, and was simply being candid. But there’s a part of me that knows he is a schemer par excellance, and wonders if he isn’t leaving room for Hillz to jump in and primary Obama-from the right!

    Especially given the perception of the GOP field as uninspiring to the public.

    I know, I know, I should take off my tin-foil-hat and stick to facts instead of wishcasting…

  3. …leaving room for Hillz to jump in and primary Obama-from the right!

    Is it possible to come at Obama from any other side?

    Back on topic: How thick do the GOP have to be, that they can’t communicate something as simple as “Medicare is unsustainable, and it’s going to crash if we don’t do something.” It’s simple arithmetic, people! When the Dems say nothing’s wrong, call them out! Go full Perot and break out the charts and graphs!

    How many presentations has Ryan produced already? Is it really that hard for his peers to read the summaries he puts on their desks?

    Worthless. The lot of ’em.

  4. And our side can’t win the messaging battle on this issue?

    Our side has to understand the problem. Mitch McConnell, when presented with the “Ryan-throws-granny-off-a-cliff” ad, responded with “Let’s stipulate noone is throwing granny off a cliff”.

  5. As opposed to what he should say, which is that anyone claiming that or repeating it is a goddamned liar.