Medicare Trustees Report

Here’s all you need to know about the 2012 Medicare Trustees Report, which was “released” in the sense that press releases have been issued and talking points have been distributed. Have not seen the actual report language, but will post a link when I do.

The spin is that the ACA is working and will save money. And then CMS Richard Foster will speak.

Somewhere in the back of the report, Foster will write something to the effect of “these projections are based on current law and will not be viable” long term. He’ll reference the doc fix.

Count on it. So, are those pointing to the savings “wrong”? No. Are they lying bastards? Yes.

Update: Here’s the actual report.

Yep. Foster writes:

“Further, while the Affordable Care Act makes important changes to the Medicare program and substantially improves its financial outlook, there is a strong likelihood that certain of these changes will not be viable in the long range. Specifically, the annual price updates for most categories of non-physician health services will be adjusted downward each year by the growth in economy-wide productivity. The best available evidence indicates that most health care providers cannot improve their productivity to this degree—or even approach such a level—as a result of the labor-intensive nature of these services.
Without unprecedented changes in health care delivery systems and payment mechanisms, the prices paid by Medicare for health services are very likely to fall increasingly short of the costs of providing these services. By the end of the long-range projection period, Medicare prices for hospital, skilled nursing facility, home health, hospice, ambulatory surgical center, diagnostic laboratory, and many other services would be less than half of their level under the prior law.”

He goes on:

For these reasons, the financial projections shown in this report for Medicare do not represent a reasonable expectation for actual program operations in either the short range (as a result of the unsustainable reductions in physician payment rates) or the long range (because of the strong likelihood that the statutory reductions in price updates for most categories of Medicare provider services will not be viable).

2 Responses

  1. Thanks for the report, NoVA.

    Like

  2. What is the emoticon for a sarcastic look of shock? Financial projections are not sustainable in the short or long term.. Really? Whoda thunk it?

    Like

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