Doctors say Medicare cuts force painful decision about elderly patients

As was expected, Medicare will inevitably see cuts to benefits. Stop-gap measures have been in effect for some time and are expected to go into effect on the first of January, 2011. These cuts were planned in 1997, long before most of us reached the age of 62!

The best thing for Seniors to do is conference with their doctor and agree to supplement Medicare’s payment.  If your doctor is agreeable to this stipulation, for you, things should remain stable.

“… a long-postponed rate-setting method that is on track to slash Medicare’s payment rates to doctors by 23 percent Dec. 1. Known as the Sustainable Growth Rate and adopted by Congress in 1997, it was intended to keep Medicare spending on doctors in line with the economy’s overall growth rate. But after the SGR formula led to a 4.8 percent cut in doctors’ pay rates in 2002, Congress has chosen to put off the ever steeper cuts called for by the formula ever since.

This month, the Senate passed its fourth stopgap fix this year – a one-month postponement that expires Jan. 1. The House is likely to follow suit when it reconvenes next week, and physicians have already been running print ads, passing out fliers to patients and flooding Capitol Hill with phone calls to convince Congress to suspend the 25 percent rate cut that the SGR method will require next year.” More

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