Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Medicare tsunami

Fox News "Health care spending projected to double by 2017":

In his budget for next year, President Bush recommended slowing the yearly growth of Medicare from about 7 percent to about 5 percent. The slowdown would occur primarily by freezing reimbursement rates for the next three years to scores of health care providers, such as hospitals, nursing homes and home health centers. Bush also proposed requiring wealthier Medicare beneficiaries to pay higher monthly premiums when participating in Medicare's prescription drug coverage plan.

Those recommendations would reduce spending by nearly $178 billion over five years, but have little chance of passage in Congress. Health and Human Services Secretary Mike Leavitt has acknowledged the unpopularity of the recommendations, but he said politicians must make some hard decisions. The longer lawmakers wait, the more difficult the decisions will be.
Bush made the entitlement problem much worse by piling on the Prescription Drug Benefit and now we've reached the tipping point where Congress will never vote down a benefit for the baby boomers because they're just too numerous. Plus, with all their free shuffleboard time, they have nothing else to do but complain and vote.

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