President Obama has been attacking Republicans on Medicare, claiming that they will end Medicare as we know it. Yet, the President’s health care reform law has put in place measures that assure that Medicare as we know it will no longer be available for seniors in the very near future. As a physician, I believe seniors should know what those changes are.
First, the Affordable Care Act – or as the president likes to refer to it, ObamaCare – cuts $716 billion out of Medicare to pay for ObamaCare. The president claims that seniors do not need to worry because this massive cut does not change what Medicare recipients are eligible for.
While that is technically true, it is also profoundly misleading.
President Obama pays for this cut by dramatically decreasing reimbursements to physicians and hospitals, reimbursements that in many cases are already below cost. As a result, many physicians will no longer be able to care for Medicare patients because of prohibitively low reimbursement rates. How does it benefit someone to have Medicare coverage if you cannot find a physician to care for you? Further, reimbursements to hospitals for procedures will be so low that many will no longer be able to provide many services. This is back-door rationing.