The Medicare Bill - A Good Idea or a Bad Idea?

(St Paul, Minnesota) - Other than one shining star - the Health Savings Account - the pending Medicare bill doesn't do much to improve health care choices or reduce costs, says Citizens' Council on Health Care (CCHC).

"Much of the language in the bill is meant to expand government control over health care and increase the burden of taxes on generations to come," says Twila Brase, president of CCHC.

Shining Star:

"Health Savings Accounts are needed to reduce costs and encourage patient-driven health care. They have the potential to free doctors and patients from today's bureaucracy of care, " Brase said.

"However, the big question is, can Health Savings Accounts solve the problems that will inevitably arise from passing the rest of the bill?" she asks.

Problems in the bill:

  • Hefty Price Tag: Added to pending insolvency is a $400 billion price tag for taxpayers - for just the first 10 years. This is likely a low estimate.
  • Government-Directed Medical Practice: a first-ever, pay-for-performance demonstration program that will financially reward doctors who comply with a government or HMO-generated "cookbook" for medical practice, and who electronically report patient data to the federal government.
  • Rationing of Medication: once government pays for it, government will decide what it will pay for.
  • Loss of Drug Coverage: The expected loss of private drug coverage for senior citizens, despite the $86 billion employer subsidy.
  • Obstacle to Individual Insurance: The $86 billion employer subsidy which further embeds the out-dated and restrictive employer-sponsored insurance system into American health care.
  • Unfair Payment Requirements: Higher premiums required of seniors with higher incomes, despite those seniors having already paid higher payroll taxes to fund Medicare.
  • Managed Care: Higher federal payments to capitated managed care plans than traditional network-free, freedom-of-choice, fee-for-service Medicare, thus moving to institutionalize more restrictive managed care across the country.
  • Patient Privacy: the Department of Health and Human Services can require health savings account managers to report patient-specific data regarding use of the dollars in the health savings account.

 

"Congress and the public need to carefully consider whether passing this year's Medicare bill is a good or a bad idea," says Ms. Brase.

 

Media Contact:

Twila Brase, President
Phone: 651-646-8935 (office)
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