Today's big story broke over the weekend. The Bush administration plans to ask for a series of cuts that would reduce Medicare spending by $30 billion to $35 billion over the next five years. The proposals would cut government payments to hospitals and other healthcare providers. The administration also wants to raise premiums for some Medicare recipients. Also included in the package is a freeze of payments to nursing homes and home health providers. Physicians will not face cuts, at least according to preliminary drafts of the legislation. More details will be available today when the President's budget request is made public.
Predictably, the American Hospital Association is rather unhappy about the idea. VP Kevin Pollock criticized the plan. "At the same time cuts are being proposed," Mr. Pollack said, "demands on hospitals are increasing. We are taking care of a rising number of uninsured, we are investing in new technology to increase patient safety and to move toward electronic medical records, and we are preparing for emergencies, including the threat of pandemic disease."
- see this article from The New York Times