Politics

Medicare Cuts Killing Seniors

medicare (2)from – CFIF.org – by Betsy McCaughey

President Obama’s Medicare cuts are killing seniors. His health law changed Medicare, adding bonuses for hospitals that spend the least per senior. The result? Hundreds of hospitals are skimping on care to win bonuses. Seniors at these hospitals aren’t getting the right antibiotic or other treatments they need. They’re dying from pneumonia, heart attacks and heart failure at higher rates than patients in other hospitals that provide more care.

So much for Obama’s promise that cutting Medicare wouldn’t harm seniors.

News of the deaths at low spending hospitals, reported in Health Affairs, comes just as GOP front-runner Donald Trump meets with House Speaker Paul Ryan. Medicare cuts are on the long list of policy disagreements between the two Republicans. Trump pledges not to cut Medicare. Ryan and GOP members of Congress are pushing to repeal Obamacare but want to keep Obama’s Medicare cuts. Trump is right on this one.

The report found that 231 hospitals rewarded with Medicare bonuses for low spending per senior provide inferior care. Seniors having heart attacks wait too long for angioplasties, for example. They’re dying when they would survive at a higher-spending hospital.

Sec. 3001 of The Affordable Care Act claims to tie these bonuses to “quality” but hospitals can win the most points — and biggest Medicare bonuses — by spending the least. Never mind who perishes.

The Obama administration was warned that rewarding low-spending hospitals could be dangerous to seniors’ health. Reports in the journal Circulation and in the Archives of Internal Medicine showed more deaths at low-spending hospitals. In fact, 17,822 seniors who died over four years in the lowest-spending hospitals in California would have survived with more care.

Bonuses aren’t the only dangerous incentives built into the president’s health law. Obamacare overhauls how Medicare pays doctors and hospitals. Providers keep more for themselves when their patients get fewer tests, see fewer specialists, and go directly home from the hospital without recuperating at rehab. More money for less care. It sets up a conflict of interest between patients and doctors.

When Medicare was enacted in 1965, the law barred the government from interfering in how doctors treated patients. Over the decades, that protection eroded slightly, but Obamacare guts it entirely, turning the financial screws on doctors and hospitals to limit care.

Ignoring this reality, the Clinton campaign is road-testing a new scaremongering attack against Trump, calling him a “heartless tycoon” who would put Medicare at risk.

The truth is, Trump vows to undo Obamacare’s Medicare cuts. The heartless ones are the Democrats, who are willing to slash Medicare to pay for Obamacare. Subsidies for health plan buyers on the exchanges will cost $800 billion in the next decade. And to pay the tab, Medicare will be cut by precisely that amount over the same period, says the Congressional Budget Office.

The Democrats’ agenda is clear: Robbing Grandma to pay for a new entitlement for younger constituents.

Republicans should repeal all of Obamacare, including the Medicare cuts, so seniors will get the care they need.

Unfortunately, that is not Ryan’s plan. His GOP replacement for Obamacare — soon to be unveiled — will include subsidies for consumers to buy health plans. It’s Obamacare lite — a new entitlement paid for by continuing the Medicare cuts. That’s morally wrong.

No Republican health bill should be paid for on the backs of seniors.

As for Medicare’s finances, they’re in trouble. Medicare Trustees predict the Hospital Fund will go dry by 2030. Obama’s Medicare cuts didn’t help, because he spent the “savings” on his costly health law.

Republican proposals, like raising the eligibility age, asking wealthier seniors for higher premiums and adding private plan options, would help keep Medicare solvent. Trump and Ryan probably won’t discuss these details on Thursday. But one lesson they must take away from the grim report on hospital skimping: Medicare reform should not cost seniors their lives.

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jimmie brasher,R.N.
4 years ago

thank you for the excellent article…lots of insight. i am a senior and a retired R.N. the care we receive is minimal…..doctors don’t listen anymore and the ones that care are being worked to death… they leave their practice too soon because of stress and over work. medical politics is rampant……..sad. we must fight and be our own patient advocate, other wise, we will slip through the cracks… results…….. undetected diseases and early death…… thank you for sharing. regards, j

john brady
5 years ago

This past year I was told by my chiropractor that Medicare would no longer cover maintenance even though x-rays indicated that spurs were being reduced on my spine. The doctor said this shouldn’t be happening to a 70 year old person but it was. I was standing straighter, my neck was in proper alignment and my leg no longer was numb after standing for long periods of time. The numbness is now coming back all because Medicare no longer covers maintenance.

Nancy
5 years ago
Reply to  john brady

Chiros are very helpful and save medicare a lot of money. It’s not only cruel, but uneconomical for medicare to stop paying for chiro services.

Nancy L Garrett
5 years ago

May 8, 2016 I fell to the floor, called 911, nurse practioner ordered blood and urine tests, said slight urine infection. May 10, fell to the floor again, called 911, I remembered this happened to me 8 years ago. At that time Dr Heppenmyer said my electrolytes are low, gave me a bag of fluids and told me to drink Gatorade. I told ambulance man, get me my Gatorade out of the fridge. He only let me have a sip. At ER I was put in a wheel chair and taken to the waiting room. I kept asking for Gatorade. Sat there with violent muscle spasmans for hours. Male nurse wheeling me to triage nurse and spasms started again. He HIT me and angrily told me to stop. Triage nurse saw him. She went looking for electrolyts drink for me. I drank about 2 cups and the muscle spasms went away. A physician assistant gave me some papers and told me to go see my doctor. I never saw a doctor either time.I called medicare to complain and told you don’t have a complaint. I an 83 in 4 days. I have never been treated in such a manner before. I have never been hit before. I am afraid of the male nurse J.oey

Mrs. Z
5 years ago

Call a lawyer. That treatment of you sounds horrendous and should be inexcusable! That abusive male nurse should be fired!

Gwen
5 years ago

WHEN WE GRADUATED FROM COLLEGE IN THE 70’S WE WERE TOLD THAT MEDICARE AND THE HOSPITAL FUND WOULD DRY UP IN THE EARLY 80’S. IT IS NOW 2016 AND WE ARE STILL WAITING FOR THE FUND TO DRY UP. I HAVE A SUPPLEMENTARY POLICY BY AARP UNITED HEALTHCARE THAT REPLACES MY MEDICARE BECAUSE MEDICARE ACCORDING TO THIS ARTICLE PAYS “NOTHING.” AARP COSTS A LITTLE MORE BUT I KNOW I AM GETTING THE CARE I NEED. i HAVE JUST RETURNED FROM GREAT BRITAIN AND I FIND THAT THEIR HEALTHCARE IS BY FAR BETTER THAN OUR HEALTHCARE HERE IN THE UNITED STATES………..BUT THEY MAKE SACRIFICES WE ARE NOT WILLING TO MAKE FOR QUALITY HEALTHCARE.

Mrs. Z
5 years ago
Reply to  Gwen

Sacrifices? Americans are forced to sacrifice every day!

MaryAnne
5 years ago

so anyway AMAC…
WHEN ARE WE going to see the list of hospitals, and care centers you mentioned so WE THE PEOPLE can decide for ourselves what plan, doctors and facilities we choose to maintain and treat the bodies our precious souls reside in?

Gwen
5 years ago
Reply to  MaryAnne

I AM SORRY MARYANNE BUT YOU WILL HAVE TO COMPILE THE LIST YOURSELF. THIS IS THE AGE OF “DO IT YOURSELF IF YOU WANT IT DONE”.
GOOD LUCK!

MaryAnne
5 years ago
Reply to  Gwen

so much for help from AMAC…..

Mrs. Z
5 years ago
Reply to  MaryAnne

I was thinking the same thing. Why post this if AMAC isn’t going to help and give the list of hospitals to avoid?

HAM
5 years ago

Bill O, just wanted to Point out Obamacare was passed solely on the votes of Democrats. Not one Republican voted for it.

dce RN
5 years ago

I’ m sure everyone remembers the Democrats propaganda ad during the 2012 campaign that shows Paul Ryan shoving Grandma over the cliff, right? I realize at that time the ad was metaphorical. But I believe if we have Obama pushing Grandma over the cliff it becomes a campaign promise. She’s a nonproductive drag on society; she’s costing the federal gov’t money that could be spent on brilliant green investments like Solindra, which cost taxpayers billions ,the parts were made in Mexico, and very quickly the project was dead in the water. I agree we should boycott those hospitals conform with Obama care policies that encourage dismissals from hospital too early, order less diagnostic tests on elderly, and pay Hospitalists to work as hospital owned MDs, MDS that have no ties to the community and whose credentials are not known, And are frequently new doctors with less than a year experience on their own. Our system of health care has changed from doctor-patient relationship to a malignant form of government called Obama Care, which resulted by design, in assembly -line medicine, and it has metastasized throughout every nook and cranny of health care

BILL O.
5 years ago

THIS IS NOT NEW NEWS. IT WAS EVIDENT WHEN OBAMACARE WAS INITIALLY PROPOSED, BUT CONGRESS VOTED FOR IT ANYWAY. NOW, WE THE (IDIOTS), AKA PEOPLE, CONTINUE TO VOTE FOR THE SAME CONGRESS REPRESENTATIVES WHO PASSED THIS LEGISLATION.
AMAC CAN DO SENIORS A HUGE SERVICE BY IMMEDIATELY PUBLISHING THE NAMES AND LOCATIONS OF THE HOSPITALS WHO ADHERE TO THESE POLICIES, AND THEIR RESPECTIVE COMPLICATION AND DEATH RATES.
FINALLY, EACH AMAC STATE SHOULD ESTABLISH A NETWORK OR PATIENT ADVOCATES WHO CAN BE CALLED UPON TO HELP FAMILIES PROTECT THEIR LOVED ONES.

BILL O.
5 years ago
Reply to  BILL O.

BTW, BILL O. IS FORMER HEALTHCARE ADMINISTRATOR.

Scottar
5 years ago

I became aware long ago that social run programs almost never pan out without great cost to personal liberties. It may work out in small homogeneous countries like Denmark but in large countries like ours, never.

The other problem is the medical education system got hijacked by entities like Standard Oil which pushed their products as treatments and cure over homeopathic alternatives on the doctors being educated by their funded establishments. The result is expensive healthcare due to synthetic treatments and cures that lead to further complications which increase the hospitals stays and causes earlier entries for those under the faux corporate influenced care.

Take heed as the FDA and other crony influence government agencies are trying to ban alternative medicine and treatments for the crony favored ones.

Rebecca Jones
5 years ago

Apparently the incentives to hospitals and physicians are tremendous. I am a retired registered nurse who just buried someone very dear to my family and to me. Her hospital has set up a total department to help persuade and indeed exert pressure on the person with the patient’s health care power of attorney to have the patient classified as DNR.They reassure the family and whomever is responsible for the decision making for that patient.that they will still do everything possible for the patient, just not attempt resuscitation if the patient should go into cardiac &/or respiratory arrest. If the decision is made to not classify the patient as a “DNR” meetings are set up with the families, etc. This is for patients 70 yoa or older. They base it on age alone.If, God forbid, the family or caregiver rescinds the DNR a conference is called.promptly. How do I know this?? It happened several times to a very dear friend of mine and tome as her healthcare POA. We agreed to DNR in ER, she was admitted, the hospitalist examined her in her room, went over her history, told us she was going off duty and another physician would be caring for my friend. Three days went by until the same hospitalist was back on duty and saw her. No other physician laid eyes on her until the admitting Dr. came back. Had she received consistently proper care from day one of her illness she would be at home happily planning and anticipating our family vacation.

Marlyce-Jean Dezzutti
5 years ago
Reply to  Rebecca Jones

What is DNR?

MaryAnne
5 years ago

Do Not Resusitate…….it means we don’t wish to have extraordinary measures employed to maintain life in situatons where cessation of life is imminent and or eventual very soon, OR if organs continue to function we will be in a comatose or helpless state.

dce RN
5 years ago

As an RN for 35yrs, I have seen a lot of changes in the health care system, but I think we have arrived at the brink of disaster. We have been privileged to have the best health care in the world available immediately upon demand with the doctor of our choice, at the hospital of our choice. Many people come here from other countries to receive treatments not available in their country or not as high quality. We also see people come here because the waiting lists are so long in their country that, by the time they are diagnosed , it’s too late to survive even with treatment. Folks, this is socialized medicine. This is what we chose when we elected Obama , a known socialist by history ( if people had taken the time to research him instead of just drinking the Kool-Aid they would have known this). And if that wasn’t enough, we re-elected him so he could complete the process. These social engineering experiments being forced on us have taken away this country’s ethics, morals, and rights. I have to agree with Tani, that when a person becomes too old or infirmed to contribute financially to society and begins to cost society ( even tho they have contributed all their working life, and without a choice in the matter, I might add) they become expendable. In some societies, after a person reaches a certain age , even if they are a marathon runner, they are allowed only palliative care, comfort measures. Is this the road we have taken? Before we cast another vote, people need to really give some thought to this scenario. Maybe even tell their children and grandchildren about the ” Good ole days” before we became pawns of a power-mongering , out of control ,and immoral government.

Mrs. Z
5 years ago
Reply to  dce RN

Most Americans didn’t elect him the 1st time, NOR the 2nd…everybody knows they were fixed elections, plus, we are “already” pawns… where have you been?
If everything was on the up and up, that woman running now, would not be “allowed” to run for the highest position in politics. We are told on Conservative News stations that this is high treason run by Democrats yet it continues.
Americans feel cheated, lied to, taken advantage of, & deeply troubled as to what’s to come. What in the world can be done to preserve our future, and the future for our children, grandchildren, and generations to come as well as our parents, etc ? I recently lost my father to this evil healthcare scheme. The doctors and hospital literally ended his life because of it. They will drug your Parents and Grandparents with so many drugs that will actually make them more sick and bring on more ailments, they will take unnecessary tests, do unnecessary surgeries so that doctors in training can practice on your loved ones, as your loved ones wither away afterwards with extreme pain & suffering, depression, lack of appetite, anxiety, and loss of will. Democrats had their chance to show Americans if they “care” about us. They don’t. It’s time the tide turns to save us all from destruction. We don’t deserve the evil treatment Democrats plan for all of us in our Golden Years. And remember, they have exempted themselves from Obamacare. I wonder why… pfff

c ragan
5 years ago

Here where I live when you are eligible for medicare, Humana sends you a list of hospitals that you can choose from. These are all public hospitals and one of them people called it a “hotel” where you checked in alive and never checked out. If you choose to go to a private hospital you have to pay more.
Medicare is or maybe already raised your part a and part d. And Medicare only pays 78% not 80%. I am new to this and I am at a loss.

Raya Engler
5 years ago

Those who are still young don’t worry about getting old until they reach 60 and see their bodies falling apart. Joint pain, back pain, knee pain, hip replacements, failing memories. THEN they start balking at not having enough benefits after all the years they paid into the system. Well, what do you know….. WHAT GOES AROUND COMES AROUND.
Cutting senior benefits? Just remember you too will get old.

R. Frank Bruck
5 years ago
Reply to  Raya Engler

Unfortunately our congress and senate do not share the wonderful healthcare program they dumped on us. Just think Nancy Pelossi NEVER READ the the program she fought so hard to impact our lives. Our Country is on the verge of collapse as all the great powers have done,( from within), and we the people keep voting for these insiders and their cronies ideology. FREE everything government will take care of everything. WELL THERE IS NO FREE LUNCH AND FREEDOM IS NOT FREE. so you that expect to be handed a glorious wonderful utopia without without a great deal of work effort, challenges, sacrifice and care, you may be the next generation of those walking/living on the streets. Vote for someone who promises all the freebies, Duh. Look around you and get your heads out of your butts.
NO MORE DEFICIT GOVERNMENT.

Henry Ray
5 years ago

This is no surprise, the people complaining shoud look in the mirror. They elected this person so WHY COMPLAIN. As far as the Democratic voters, if fidel Castro were on the ballet, all would wote for him.

MaryAnne
5 years ago

as a retired medical professional and 70’s senior I choose the preventative care (tests) for my body. Sometimes I do have to pay out of pocket, which irks me, having paid into SS and for 60 yrs. and medicare premiums as well. We have been bamboozeld by the greedy politicians in this country, and big pharma and health insurance companies.

Tani Smida
5 years ago

When I hit 65 My Dr. told me that Medicare would no longer pay for my yearly pap smear. It’s not a process that I enjoy but that news left me feeling devalued. Next thing I hear is that I no longer am eligible for my yearly mammograms, another unpleasant procedure that might add years to my life. Clearly that is exactly what they want to avoid. Let all these seniors die off because they are no longer in the work force and adding to the coffers in DC. They have the temerity to think that they are actually entitled to the monies that they cashed away, thinking that Social Security and Medicare would actually make their retirement years ‘Golden’. These people in Washington are no better than two bit grifters. Throw the Bums OUT!!

Mrs. Z
5 years ago
Reply to  Tani Smida

This guy wants to do away with Seniors in order to steal their social security benefits from them and then hand those benefits over to those “not” entitled. I spoke to a man the other day whose friend works at a social security office and every day he sees checks written to minority families with umpteen little kids. Why is that? That is NOT what our Social Security is for! That is theft by our own government; how evil !

jim
5 years ago

You can bet that Rayan and the rest have their medical covered 100% . They all need to be removed from office. They allow Obama to continue to deface America.

Jim
5 years ago

EVERY MEMBER OF CONGRESS, THE JUDGES OF THE SUPREME COURT AND OBAMA ARE ALL GUILTY OF TREASON (the definition of treason is == “the betrayal of a trust”) ALL THESE PEOPLE SWORE AN OATH TO UPHOLD AND DEFEND OUR CONSTITUTION. HAVE ANY OF THEM DONE THIS? I DON’T THINK SO!

RTL
5 years ago

Put all of Congress Senate and most of all Presidents past present and future and their families on the same healthcare as everyone else. TERM LIMITS FOR ALL Also .

Mrs. Z
5 years ago
Reply to  RTL

Absolutely!

David
5 years ago

AMAC has a chance of changing the direction US is going they have herd the cry from seniors how far will they go. No one
has been willing to step forward and described the twilight zone movie that’s taking place right now. Their are many Doctors and Nurses ready to follow a leader. Seniors hesitate to seek medical help because they don’t know if they will be put down (killed ) or helped

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