Budget Plan Sees Savings in Changes to Medicare

In his new budget, President Obama proposed on Monday to squeeze $399 billion over the next 10 years out of Medicare, Medicaid, and other programs run by the Department of Health and Human Services. Under the proposals, many Medicare beneficiaries would have to pay more for their care and coverage. The President would, for example, introduce a co-payment for new Medicare beneficiaries who receive home health care services, and he would collect $4 billion over 10 years by imposing a surcharge on premiums for new beneficiaries who buy generous private insurance to supplement Medicare. In addition, President Obama’s budget would reduce scheduled Medicare payments to teaching hospitals, hundreds of small rural hospitals, nursing homes, and health maintenance organizations that care for older Americans and people with disabilities. Nancy LeaMond, an executive vice president of AARP, the lobby for older Americans, welcomed a proposal by President Obama to hold down the cost of prescription drugs. But she said, “We have concerns about certain proposals that could shift costs onto older Americans, such as higher premiums, deductibles, and co-payments for Medicare beneficiaries.” Richard J. Umbdenstock, president of the American Hospital Association, said the proposals were “bad medicine for our nation’s seniors.” Currently, he said, “one in three hospitals operates in the red,” and many lose money on their Medicare patients. President Obama would save more than $100 billion over 10 years by reducing inflation updates for health care providers that care for Medicare beneficiaries after they are discharged from hospitals.

Source/more: New York Times

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