Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Republican backed Health Savings Accounts and Sequester driving doctors and hospitals out of Medicare.

My conservative friend in Milwaukee likes to blame Obama for making cuts to Medicare that will drive hospitals and doctors out of the program. But Obama and the Republicans are both trying to rein in costs by cutting payments to hospitals and doctors.

But surprise, it looks like Republicans are now in the driver’s seat when it comes to stripping Medicare of provider hospitals and doctors. With their backing of high deductible Health Savings Accounts and the sequester, folly they said would not result in anything dramatic, providers are losing hundreds of millions of dollars. Here's the audio:

Like I've been saying for years because I've had them, HSA’s discourage the insured from seeking care, which is great for insurers but lousy for the sick and medical community.
WPRMinistry Health Care plans to cut between 225 and 250 full-time-equivalent workers at its 15 hospitals and 47 clinics. In a news release, two factors were cited: high deductible health insurance plans that are keeping people from seeking medical care, and federal sequestration budget cuts, which include a 2 percent reduction in Medicare payments to hospitals and physicians. Ministry officials say those cuts are costing them $10 million.

Steve Brenton, president of the Wisconsin Hospital Association, says Ministry is not the only medical organization being hurt by sequestration. “We have estimated that the one-year impact of sequestration — these Medicare budget cuts — is about $100 million for Wisconsin's 140 hospitals.”
I actually talked my doctors ear off asking him questions about the fate of Medicare, and he pretty much said the following:
Brenton there's another $30 million dollars in Medicare cuts for the physicians who are employed by those hospitals. He says other Wisconsin medical facilities may have to join Ministry in laying off workers.  “I would not be surprised at all. I know based on anecdotal information that many organizations have implemented targeted hiring freezes. And the bottom line is, if your revenues are going to be down $130 million dollars, it's going to have an impact on your ability to pay for expenses.”

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