I will be commenting on specific aspects of the new Health Care Bill over the next several months. Please see below my thoughts on the proposed reduction in Medicare Reimbursements.
I see a host of issues that must be addressed as a result of the new health care law from a pure delivery perspective. I will only address one of these issues today and it’s the proposed 21% reduction in Medicare reimbursements to providers.
Having convenient access to primary care is a fundamental component to managing ones healthcare, managing the costs of health care and having a patient centric delivery system. By cutting reimbursements to Medicare providers we will reduce the number of doctors participating in Medicare and drive seniors to seek fragmented care yielding greater financial stress to seniors and increasing costs within the current delivery system. Not to mention the impact to what primary care providers are currently being paid since insurance carriers provider reimbursements contracts are tied to what Medicare pays its providers.
Imagine the burden to the delivery system when the 20+ million uninsured are now receiving subsidized coverage and are seeking primary care within this stressed environment. Will having coverage change how these 20 million receive care? Will they still treat the ER as the primary care setting? This health care environment we’re creating is has no future and will only lead to a continuation of fragmented care, decrease in access to primary care doctors and hospitals, increased chronic disease, increased delivery costs and at the end of the day an increase in all of our individual and corporate tax rates.
We need a healthcare delivery model that is built on a solid foundation of primary care delivered more effective, efficient, and equitable care than systems that fail to invest in primary care. Current patient centric delivery models are being studied and piloted around the country within diverse settings and patient populations, findings consistently indicate that investments to redesigning the delivery of care around primary care have yielded excellent results. These are the initiatives we need to rally in order to access quality care and impact long term health care costs.