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April 04, 2013

ObamaCare Bait And Switch: Some Medicare Cuts Kill, Others Are Just Dandy

One of the debates during the ObamaCare fight and the recent campaign was the impact of Medicare cuts on recipients. ObamaCare supporters denied that the cuts would affect seniors since the cuts were on "providers" and not on "benefits".

The Washington Posts' healthcare writer Sarah Kliff last August.

The Medicare Advantage cut gets the most attention, but it only accounts for about a third of the Affordable Care Act’s spending reduction. Another big chunk comes from the hospitals. The health law changed how Medicare calculates what they get reimbursed for various services, slightly lowering their rates over time. Hospitals agreed to these cuts because they knew, at the same time, they would likely see an influx of paying patients with the Affordable Care Act’s insurance expansion.

...

It’s worth noting that there’s one area these cuts don’t touch: Medicare benefits. The Affordable Care Act rolls back payment rates for hospitals and insurers. It does not, however, change the basket of benefits that patients have access to. And, as Ezra pointed out earlier today, the Ryan budget would keep these cuts in place.

(Emphasis mine)

See, cutting payments to providers doesn't affect benefits, apparently because providers will make it up in volume by seeing more loss leading patients or something

That sounds ridiculous to most people with any real world experience but that was the case ObamaCare supporters made. Now, if only there were a real world way to test who is right.

And thanks to the very same Sarah Kliff on the Post's website we do have a real world test case. Shockingly, the ObamaCare promises fall apart when faced with reality.

Cancer clinics across the country have begun turning away thousands of Medicare patients, blaming the sequester budget cuts.

Oncologists say the reduced funding, which took effect for Medicare on April 1, makes it impossible to administer expensive chemotherapy drugs while staying afloat financially.

Patients at these clinics would need to seek treatment elsewhere, such as at hospitals that might not have the capacity to accommodate them.

“If we treated the patients receiving the most expensive drugs, we’d be out of business in six months to a year,” said Jeff Vacirca, chief executive of North Shore Hematology Oncology Associates in New York. “The drugs we’re going to lose money on we’re not going to administer right now.”

...

“If you get cut on the service side, you can either absorb it or make do with fewer nurses,” said Ted Okon, director of the Community Oncology Alliance, which advocates for hundreds of cancer clinics nationwide. “This is a drug that we’re purchasing. The costs don’t change and you can’t do without it. There isn’t really wiggle room.”

(Emphasis mine)

Wait what? Cutting payments for services leads to less...services? Economics...how does it work?

Of course Medicare recipients will have the same "benefits" as liberals always promise, they just won't have anywhere to redeem them.

Related; Ben Domenich has a back and forth with Ezra Klein over ObamaCare vs. Republican health plans with predictable results.


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posted by DrewM. at 10:36 AM

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