By Sam Foster
Remember when Democrats said that Paul Ryan would end Medicare by not fully reimbursing doctors for senior's health care?
According to Medicare Actuary Rick Foster, under Obamacare doctors will receive at best, 60% of what the private industry pays:
Foster and others worry that steadily falling reimbursements will make it more difficult for seniors to find anyone willing to treat them.
"Currently Medicare payment rates to physicians are about 80 percent of the private sector, private insurance rates," he says. They would go to 60 percent if the doctor payments were cut.
But that isn't the only spending cut the program faces, and Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, another trustee of Medicare, argued last week that the new health care law has saved the program by reducing costs.
Skeptics say that assertion relies on controversial assumptions. For instance, a doctor's office may not function with the rhythms of an automobile production line, but the administration is assuming, and actually counting on, doctors and other providers adjusting to lower reimbursements by increasing their productivity or efficiency at the same rate manufacturers do. If they don't, the lower payments might well make it harder for seniors to find providers willing to treat them.
That is one reason Foster has more than a little doubt. "The productivity adjustments are unlikely to be viable in the context of today's health care world," Foster says. "If today's world continues without major change, they just, I don't see how they can work."
The administration has dictated that Medicare spending not rise faster than levels close to the GDP. If it rises faster than that, the new law has a failsafe -- a board that would have only one power, to arbitrarily lower reimbursements even further if spending gets too high.
That's right seniors. Democrats want you to believe that Paul Ryan guaranteeing you annual reimbursement is killing Medicare, while Obamacare saves it by putting all the doctors out of business.
More at Memeorandum, graphic via. ExpoxeObama.com