Tuesday, August 14, 2012

So's your old man

Former Labor Secretary, Berkeley scholar, and pal of Brad DeLong, Robert Reich pipes up;

Stumping in Florida today, Mitt Romney charged President Obama’s Affordable Care Act will “cut more than $700 billion” out of Medicare.
What Romney didn’t say was that his running-mate’s budget — approved by House Republicans and by Romney himself — would cut Medicare by the same amount.
The big difference, though, is the Affordable Care Act achieves these savings by reducing Medicare payments to drug companies, hospitals, and other providers rather than cutting payments to Medicare beneficiaries.
Which, in the world according to Berkeley, doesn't affect Medicare beneficiaries

A survey of Colorado primary care doctors found most are reluctant to take a new patient on basic Medicare, the government health insurance for people 65 and over.
Colorado Public News called family, general practice and internal medicine physicians across the state, using the nation’s official website that lists thousands of doctors the site claims treats patients on Medicare. Of 100 contacted, only 34 said they would readily accept a new patient.
Of the remainder, 40 said they would not add a new patient on traditional Medicare. Another 26 limit new clients, making decisions on a case-by-case basis, or placing patients on waiting lists of up to six months. That adds up to 66 – or two-thirds – refusing or limiting new patients.
The questions focused on traditional Medicare, which is used by most recipients.
Several doctors said they hesitate to take Medicare patients because Medicare doesn’t pay enough, pays late, and can require a nightmare of paperwork and repeated telephone calls.

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