Since 1965 when Medicare was passed, we have been on an inexorable road to a place where medical care is now a ready vehicle for wealth redistribution. Ironically, even in a down economy, the deserving seniors still represent the wealthiest generation in human history. So of course everyone else needs to take a haircut to keep George and Myrtle on the golf course. There’s no way to be apolitical about this, except to say that this is a pro-establishment event. In a late-year-shove-it-through deal, Rep Paul Ryan (R) and Sen. Patty Murray (D) announced a budget compromise to avoid a government shutdown.
Here’s the fix: “the Medicare 2 percent cut aimed at providers, worth more than $120 billion over the 10 years of the sequester” will now be extended for another two years. These same cuts have already hurt a lot of Medicare providers, and certainly have not increased access for the early bird special bunch.
Class warrior Democrats will shed no tears over pay cuts to wealthy doctors, while cowardly Republicans will not defend those who can, y’know, tough it out. How’s that for bipartisan? Devious vs. Reprehensible. There won’t be a fight over discretionary spending, and most important of all, our deserving seniors won’t have to suffer any anxiety while the younger folks firewall it toward the economic cliff. Will this save Medicare? Of course not. Will it make things worse? Absolutely. And in the meantime, the regulations that require ever more coders, administrators, JCHAO commissars, and other parasites will only increase, while those who actually treat patients can just buck up, and work a little harder. Whenever a core measure is missed or some quasi-government drone documents an unlabeled bottle of sterile water, that’s one less nurse actually available at the bedside. And of course all those struggling primary care docs who start to lose money on Medicare patients can just make it up on volume.