Obama's proposed Medicare and Medicaid cuts could negatively impact beneficiaries, experts say

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President Barack Obama
President Barack Obama

The Obama administration says that proposed reimbursement cuts to Medicare and Medicaid providers shield beneficiaries from access-to-care difficulties, but some experts aren't so sure.

Obama's deficit-reduction plan, released Monday, would reduce Medicare spending by $248 billion and Medicaid by $72 billion over 10 years. The savings, according to the plan, will be achieved by reducing reimbursements to providers, such as physicians. Some critics have argued that these reductions just shift costs to states. Other economists warn that the government must pay attention to how they enact these reductions, particularly in reducing reimbursements to nursing homes that are already seeing payment cuts.

The Medicare Payment Advisory Commission, or MedPAC, released its own list of Medicare reductions on Sept. 15. MedPAC's proposal includes $23 billion in federal savings the next decade by rebasing reimbursement rates for nursing homes.

John C. Rother, president of The National Coalition on Health Care, told The New York Times that while the Affordable Care Act shows that it's possible to slow Medicare growth without hurting beneficiaries, “Medicaid shows that if you starve a program and provide inadequate reimbursement, access to doctors will be at risk.”
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