The House has passed the so-called “doc fix” legislation replacing the flawed reimbursement formula Congress itself created years ago to cut pay to doctors in Medicare. The formula has never worked and Congress has had to vote to replace it year after year. We’ve supported the permanent replacement of this flawed formula and still do. Unfortunately, the legislation that passed the House today merely trades one bad deal for another. And this time it’s seniors who take the hit.
“Contrary to claims by supporters, on both sides of the aisle, this ‘doc fix’ does not impact only ‘wealthy seniors’. Millions of beneficiaries who depend on a Medigap plan to help pay their health care bills – no matter their income — will be hit with higher costs. Given that 46% of all Medigap policy holders had incomes of $30,000 or less, it’s clear this deal impacts far more than the wealthy, as the bill’s proponents have claimed. What’s more, Medicare beneficiaries will be forced to contribute nearly $60 billion in premiums over the next decade to replace the SGR.
No doubt, we’ll hear today that this ‘compromise’ Medicare doc-fix plan must be a success because there are concessions from all sides. Unfortunately, that political trope is just as flawed as the SGR itself because it ignores the financial reality facing Medicare beneficiaries just as the SGR ignored the reality facing doctors. Trading a bad deal for doctors for a bad deal for seniors is not a legislative victory and it is a surprising move from some in Congress who have previously vowed to protect Medicare from cuts and seniors from cost-shifting.
It’s no surprise that anti-“entitlement” lobbyists on Capitol Hill and their allies in Congress are celebrating this deal for the benefit cuts they know will ‘grow like an avalanche over time’. That avalanche will be headed straight for American retirees, current and future, as Congress continues to push Medicare down the slippery slope of means testing, raising costs for more and more seniors, including the middle-class.”…Max Richtman, NCPSSM President/CEO