Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Medicare Patients at Risk

After the failure of the Super Committee this week, health care experts are predicting big changes ahead for Medicare patients. (Medicare provides health coverage for seniors, people with disabilities, and military families).

Politico reports that raising the Medicare eligibility age, higher premiums, new home care fees, and Medigap restructuring — once taboo proposals — are on the table.

The automatic 2013 federal budget cuts do not include direct cuts to Medicare benefits, The Hill reports. But cuts to hospitals, insurers, and health care providers will affect the cost and quality of care for those on Medicare, reports Kaiser Health News.

Medpage Today writes the failure of the Super Committee might mean fewer cuts to Medicare than if the committee had agreed to direct cuts to the Medicare program that would have reduced or eliminated benefits.

Meanwhile, doctors and other health care providers are facing a 2-percent payment cut, and doctors are facing an additional 27.4 percent Medicare payment cut in January. These cuts may force doctors and hospitals to reconsider whether to accept Medicare patients, reports Reuters.

Texas doctors continue to ask Congress not to cut Medicare payments and to allow seniors to continue to see the doctor of their choice. You can help by asking Congress to fix the broken physician payment system and keep doctors for Medicare patients. Click on the Stop Medicare meltdown box to the right of this blog post.

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