Cancer clinics are being forced to turn away patients because of Medicare cuts in the sequester. The Washington Post made sure “Blame the Sequester” was in the headline. But here’s the thing, this is just a sign of what’s coming under Obamacare. Remember, the Democrats argued that the savings would come through cuts to Medicare. They just said they’re only cutting payments to doctors but they aren’t cutting benefits to patients.
The Medicare Advantage cut gets the most attention, but it only accounts for about a third of the Affordable Care Act’s spending reduction. Another big chunk comes from the hospitals. The health law changed how Medicare calculates what they get reimbursed for various services, slightly lowering their rates over time. Hospitals agreed to these cuts because they knew, at the same time, they would likely see an influx of paying patients with the Affordable Care Act’s insurance expansion.
It’s worth noting that there’s one area these cuts don’t touch: Medicare benefits. The Affordable Care Act rolls back payment rates for hospitals and insurers. It does not, however, change the basket of benefits that patients have access to. And, as Ezra pointed out earlier today, the Ryan budget would keep these cuts in place.
Funny how the author of the piece on cancer clinic cuts didn’t pick up on that, seeing that she’s the same person who wrote the article last summer. This is how it’s going to work. Everyone will have baskets overflowing with benefits, but they won’t have anywhere to redeem those benefits. Get used to it.
Update: In related news, the claims that Obamacare would reduce the deficit turned out to be wrong. What a shock.