Monday, February 12, 2007

NYT Editorial: Passing the Buck on Health Care

The New York Times in an editorial today criticized the President Bush's budget to reduce money for Medicare and Medicaid:

President Bush’s new budget would extend the administration’s warped priorities deep into the realm of federally supported health care programs. The administration long ago sacrificed any meaningful domestic agenda to finance tax cuts for the wealthy and its reckless war in Iraq. The White House’s reckless determination to make the tax cuts permanent is now driving it to slash domestic spending in health and other vital programs.

Instead of trying to address the underlying problems of escalating health care costs, Mr. Bush’s strategy is to cut services or shift more of the bill to states, health care providers and individuals.


The real outrage is that the administration has not proposed comparable reductions in the large overpayments — roughly 12 percent more per patient — made to private managed care plans that enroll Medicare beneficiaries. The budget would also phase out Medicare bad-debt payments, forcing hospitals to swallow beneficiaries’ unpaid bills.

If I understand this correctly, President Bush has proposed that less money go directly to hospitals to pay for care already provided, but increased to insurance companies who do not provide care.

Hmm, let's see: give more money to insurance companies, less to actual medical providers and require individuals -- who are already struggling -- to pick up more of the tab. All this to finance his tax cuts for rich people. It's a continuation of the ""Starve the Beast" policy. But the only thing that the policy will starve is the middle class who will have to pick up the tab caring for their increasingly elderly parents.

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