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Medicare attempts affordability reforms

Posted On Thu, July 26, 2012

The Medicare program has set its sights on cutting fees for its most difficult patients, while still keeping them in good health. However, according to The Wall Street Journal, many do not think that the reforms do enough.

The Affordable Care Act allows for healthcare companies to create care structures for a large group of patients, the news source explained. This helps these providers to keep any savings they earn from the programs. In addition, the Medicare program can penalize hospitals that continually take a large number of patients within a few weeks of being discharged for the same illness, as these issues typically mean there was an issue with the initial care scheme.

"Better quality care with fewer complications is actually less expensive," Paul McGann, deputy chief medical officer at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services innovation center, told the news source.

Despite the plan, past attempts to improve Medicare in a similar fashion have not been successful, the news source noted. In addition, non-Medicare spending is typically used on a smaller group of expensive patients. Such examples of this are those with cancer, diabetes, arthritis and high cholesterol.

The news source cited a study from the Institute of Medicine that noted that while some healthcare spending has to be done, not all of it is completely necessary. In 2009, there was $2.5 trillion spent as a part of the country's healthcare situation. More than $760 billion was considered to be wasteful.

While there are some government-sponsored options available for aging patients, they may not always be the most affordable. By seeking out other policies with low health insurance rates, a senior citizen may get a sufficient plan.

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