Healthcare Daily Digest for 14 February 2013: Medicare and Medicaid Spending Projects Are Down, But Why?

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Scott Gottlieb over at Forbes.com takes a look at Medicare and Medicaid spending estimates in a blog post on that site.

Of primary interest in this piece is why the Medicare/Medicaid spending projections are down. “Advocates for Obamacare are already crediting the legislation’s payment reforms,” Gottleib writes. But he’s not convinced that that can be the entire case — or, eve, the case at all: “There is scant evidence that the few early provisions have had much of an impact.”

Instead, Gottleib thinks that the decrease is more likely due to a drastic decrease in consumer medical spending, what with all the recessions and all. “People are thinking twice about seeking out healthcare, and incurring out of pocket costs.”

As to what this might mean politically? “In the end, if nothing else, the better budget outlook makes it far less likely that the Obama Administration will feel compelled to stand up its controversial Independent Payment Advisory Board (IPAB).”

Thursday’s headlines:

  • Yesterday, North Carolina; Today: Indiana: We learned yesterday that North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory thinks that his state’s Medicare system is broken. Today, Indiana’s Governor Mike Pence too thinks that there are a ton of problems with the Medicare system. “Medicaid is broken. It has a well-documented history of substantial waste, fraud and abuse. It has failed to keep pace with private market innovations that have created efficiencies, controlled costs and improved quality.”
  • Breaking Up is Hard to Do: “United Healthcare is sending its subscribers a letter dated Feb. 8 in which it told customers that they can no longer use the Valhalla hospital as an in-network facility.”
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Posted in Medical Receivables, Patient Financial Services .

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