CNN: Take Another Look at Health Care Act

CNN: Take Another Look at Health Care Act

CNN

July 19, 2012

By Aaron E. Carroll

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you know people are concerned about the deficit. Or at least they say they are. You’d also have to be willfully ignoring everything around you not to know that health care spending is a significant cause, if not the cause, of our long-term fiscal problems.

The narrative that seems to be going around Washington argues that there are two schools of thought about how to improve our financial outlook. One side wants to cut spending. The other side wants to increase taxes. Or, so it goes…

…Right off the bat, we need to remember that the Affordable Care Act makes significant cuts to future Medicare spending. Reductions in overpayments for Medicare Advantage constitute almost $140 billion in savings over a decade. Changes in the fee-for-service reimbursement schedule add up to almost $200 billion. That’s an enormous amount of money, so large that it scared many people into thinking that Medicare would be severely curtailed. Running against Medicare cuts helped sweep the Republicans into power in the House of Representatives in 2010. Often, such arguments came from the same people now decrying the Affordable Care Act for not cutting health care spending enough.

But that’s just the tip of the iceberg. There are lots of other payment reforms (PDF) that should “bend the curve” for Medicare in the next decade. Hospitals will be punished for re-admissions for certain conditions. This is expected to save $8.2 billion. Refusing payments for hospital-acquired conditions should save another $3.2 billion. Accountable care organizations, for better or for worse, areexpected to save almost $5 billion in the first eight years as well

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By |2017-06-06T16:45:06+00:00July 20th, 2012|Blog, Uncategorized|0 Comments