The Cost of Reduced Funding for Medicare/Medicaid

The New York Times Reports:

Employers and consumers are paying billions of dollars more a year for medical care to compensate for imbalances in the nation’s health care system resulting from tight Medicare and Medicaid budgets, according to Blue Cross officials and independent actuaries.

A new study commissioned by Premera Blue Cross, based in Seattle, has found a rapid acceleration in higher costs to private payers in Washington State, for example, as hospitals and doctors grapple with constraints in the federal health insurance programs.

The study found that in 2004, the most recent year for which full data are available, hospitals in Washington State charged an additional $738 million — or 14.3 percent of their revenue — to private payers to make up for Medicare and Medicaid underpayments. Similarly, doctors shifted $620 million, or 12 percent, said John Pickering, an actuary at Milliman Inc., a consulting and actuarial firm that conducted the study.

A similar Milliman study in California for 2004 said that health plans and consumers paid an additional $4.5 billion for hospital care in that state to compensate for Medicaid and Medicare constraints. Milliman’s California study, commissioned by Blue Shield of California, did not include physicians’ charges. [full text]

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One response

  1. When will people (read: those who lean right-of-center) figure out that SOMEONE has to pay for people who get sick w/o health insurance? When will they figure out that THEY are paying for it, whether through higher premiums, higher prices, or through their tax dollars?

    Why is that such a difficult concept to grasp?

    And why can’t they grasp that our health care “system” (if you can call it that) is wasteful and horribly inefficient? And why do they always bring up the old canards about waiting lists and inferior service, lies that have been disproven a hundred times over?

    It must have something to do with the degree of ideological stubbornness (1 or 2 n’s?). They label something as ‘socialist’ so it’s automatically, completely, and irredeemably bad. As evidence, have you ever read exchanges between right/left posters? At some point, the right-leaner will call the left-leaner a ‘socialist’ and act like the argument has been won, hands down, and that no further rejoinder is possible to that ever-so-crushing name.

    It ain’t politics for those folks; it’s religion.

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