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The Fix Is In… July 9, 2010

Posted by ev0rev in Politics.

“By your own estimate, the Doc Fix adds an additional $371 billion to the cost of health care reform. With the price tag beyond what most Americans could handle, the Majority decided to simply remove this costly provision and deal with it in a stand-alone bill.”

“Hiding spending doesnt reduce spending.”

Paul Ryan, R (WI)   House Committee on Budget  and House Committee on Ways and Means

And yet that is exactly what they did… they simply removed the doc fix provision completely and thus, the CBO never took it into consideration…voila!…instant $350B+ shaved off the cost of the bill.   That doesn’t mean it isn’t a cost that we, the taxpayers, have to absorb, it simply means that it is no longer attached to the HCR bill and therefore isn’t in CBO’s calculations.  It will impact our wallets all the same.  They hid the spending.  They manipulated the numbers to get their bill passed, regardless of what the impact on the budget would be.

And now, finally, on June 24th… the “doc fix” was addressed in the manner in which we have come to expect.  It was patched temporarily until the issue comes up for review again in December!  Lovely…

WSJ article on “doc fix”

What does all of this really mean?  In short, it means doctors are going to start refusing to accept Medicare patients.  Don’t believe me?  This article does a pretty good job of summarizing.

The American Medical Association (AMA) warned that unless Congress restores the cuts, physicians will limit the number of Medicare patients they treat. A survey of 9000 members revealed that 17% of physicians — and 31% of those in primary care — would take such action because Medicare rates are too low.

Just before the vote, when the 6-month fix was still seen as viable, the AMA condemned it, saying that Congress has broken its promise to America’s seniors and military families. In a news release titled, “Senate Fiddles as Medicare Burns,” AMA President Cecil B. Wilson, MD, noted that Congress has been arguing about the “doc fix” for months.

“Delaying the problem is not a solution,” Dr. Wilson said in the statement. “Continued short-term actions are creating severe instability that harms seniors as physicians make decisions to protect their practices from Medicare’s volatility. Continuing down this path just slaps a Band-Aid on a problem that needs urgent surgery.”

That’s right… for all of the promises about how nothing would change for seniors and Medicare would remain intact, the truth of the matter is that there are likely to be significantly fewer doctors to handle the same patient load.



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