The Beginning of the Middle of the End of Medicare

Sent by reader noni mausa

From the psych blog Shrink Rap:

The Beginning of the Middle of the End of Medicare
Posted by Roy at 2:14 PM
Thursday, August 07, 2008

The Beginning of the End of Medicare was when Congress passed the
rules which require physician fees to follow a Sustainable Growth Rate
or SGR, followed by the Medicare Modernization Act or MMA, which
added the prescription drug plan but prevents Medicare from
negotiating lower rates from Big Pharma.

The problem with the SGR is that its calculation is fatally flawed,
requiring increasing annual reductions in physician payments.
Congress recently overrode Bush’s veto of their bill to nullify
this year’s planned SGR reduction of 10% in provider payments.
[Sorting through the double negatives, Bush wanted the 10% reduction,
Congress overruled him. –Noni]

There is another 40% reduction planned over the next several years.
Since all other costs go up annually, it is a no-brainer that annual
reductions in Medicare fees will eventually result in providers ending
their participation in the Medicare program.

We are now at the Middle of the End. Medicare now has this bounty
hunter system using “recovery audit contractors”, where auditors look
for “overpayments” and errors…Some of the cited overpayments were as
little as $13 or so per claim, but the cost to the practice of
retrieving the corresponding record and forwarding the information
could be 10 times that amount…

More at the website.