White House Targeting Medicare For Big Cuts

  1. (The Economics of War)

    by Robert Pear.... New York Times..... 10-07-02

    Washington--- The Bush administration is proposing deep reductions in Medicare payments for a wide range of drugs and medical devices used to treat people who are elderly or disabled.

    The cuts would affect many drugs, devices, and high-technology procedures, including

    cancer drugs and cardiac defibrillators like the one implanted in Vice President Dick Cheney to prevent an irregular heartbeat.

    Medicare will pay less for blood products.The payment for a unit of red blood cells--about a pint-- would be cut 40 percent to $77: from $ 135 this year.

    The payment for inserting a battery-operated pacemaker and defibrillator would be cut 61 percent, to $11,840..............
    from $29,300.

    (I believe this means if you need one, you better have the bucks to pay la difference)

    Doctors and patient advocates expressed concern that hospitals will stop providing services on which they lose money.

    This could make it more difficult for Medicare patients to obtain life-saving drugs, devices and treatment.

    The government acknowledged that these cuts "are a concern to us because of the potential impact on access to care."

    The Medicare payment for a breast biopsy would be cut 30 percent, to $275 from $400. For intravenous cisplatin, a commonly used cancer drug, the payment would be reduced 45 percent to $ 200 from $450.

    For Avonex, a genetically engineered drug used by people with multiple sclerosis, the payment would be cut 40 percent, to $140 , from $255. (one weekly injection)

    Hospitals would get 70 percent less for implanting infusion pumps, used to deliver medication for severe intractable pain. The payment would be cut to $1,325 from $4,085.

    These payment rates are effective January 1, 2003.

    As the first paragragh said, the Bush administration "is proposing" (and implementing on Jan. 1st) DEEP Medicare payment reductions.

    Our quality of life is going to suffer ...a lot....to pay for war. I hate to see it on the backs of suffering children, the elderly, and disabled. These elderly worked and paid into SS...Medicare and deserve an old age free of worry about pain and suffering. They earned it.

    Thanks, Dubya. Did we vote for THIS?
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  3. by   oramar
    The budget in the ninties was balanced of the backs of elderly and needy. Is it possible this is just a continuation of those cuts? Is it possible that cuts to pay for war are still in the future?
  4. by   sjoe
    I guess sick people are going to have to do a better job of voting.