The Daily Sandwich

"We have to learn the lesson that intellectual honesty is fundamental for everything we cherish." -Sir Karl Popper

Location: Boston, Massachusetts, United States


Monday, July 17, 2006

Administration to announce Medicare cuts

I guess you could say the the White House is finally asking people to make sacrifices for spending on Iraq (now scheduled to top $500 billion by next year), but I don't think this is what most Americans would've come up with.

The Bush administration says it plans sweeping changes in Medicare payments to hospitals that could cut payments by 20 percent to 30 percent for many complex treatments and new technologies.

The changes, the biggest since the current payment system was adopted in 1983, are meant to improve the accuracy of payment rates. But doctors, hospitals and patient groups say the effects could be devastating. (. . .)

The basic payment for surgery to open clogged arteries, by inserting a drug-coated wire mesh stent, would be cut by 33 percent, to $7,590. The payment for implanting a defibrillator, like the one used by Vice President Dick Cheney, would be cut 23 percent, to $22,000, while the payment for hip and knee replacements would be reduced 10 percent, to $14,500. (. . .)

Without a delay, Mr. Slotnik said, hospitals can expect to see a 35 percent reduction in Medicare payments for stroke patients treated with clot-busting drugs. The basic payment for such cases is now $11,578.