MedeAnalytics’ Ken Perez Delves into Details Behind $716 Billion Reduction to Medicare Spending, Potential Hospital Job Losses, and Romney’s Medicare Plan
“Straight Talk About Medicare” presentation today focused on helping large national webinar audience
separate fact from speculation in the national debate on Medicare reform
EMERYVILLE, Calif., October 25, 2012 /PRNewswire/ — In a detailed 45-minute webinar attended by executives from hospitals and health systems, physician practices, payers, and other healthcare professionals from around the nation, Ken Perez, MedeAnalytics’ director of healthcare policy and senior vice president of marketing, separated fact from speculation in the national debate on Medicare reform. The webinar, titled “Straight Talk About Medicare Reform,” is the latest example of MedeAnalytics’ ongoing commitment to provide clear, accurate, and unbiased information in a nonpartisan way to the healthcare industry on issues of critical importance. MedeAnalytics is a leading provider of healthcare performance management solutions.
“We presented this webinar in part as a response to the pervasive polarization in American politics,” says Perez. “It is an effort to get to the bottom of the issue of Medicare reform, which has been at the center of much of the presidential campaign. Unfortunately, our society’s sound-bite orientation and the contentious tenor of the political dialog have led to oversimplification of the issues and obfuscation of the real facts.”
- Medicare’s $716 billion enigma: savings or funding cut? Perez provided a detailed assessment of the Affordable Care Act’s (ACA) $716 billion reduction to Medicare spending, delving into the source of that figure, a Congressional Budget Office report which provided helpful details. “President Obama describes it as savings to Medicare from no longer overpaying healthcare providers and insurance companies,” said Perez, noting that the president’s plan assumes there will be gains in healthcare delivery productivity, which would result in little or no negative impact on patient access or quality of care, in spite of the reduced funding levels. “In contrast, Governor Romney describes it as an across-the-board funding cut, warning that the cuts would drive providers to not take more Medicare patients.”
- Substantial hospital job losses in 2013 and beyond. Much of the ACA’s $716 billion Medicare spending decrease will be realized through reductions in funding of various providers, including $260 billion from hospitals. Perez noted that in the absence of other cost-saving measures, U.S. hospitals could be forced to shed 300,000 to 400,000 jobs next year, which translates into 75 to 100 positions for the average hospital. “These cuts will hurt,” said Perez. “It’s estimated that up to a fifth of hospitals could become unprofitable as a result. Obviously, this could adversely impact the availability and quality of care.”
- Romney’s Medicare plan: a work in progress. Perez noted that the Romney Medicare plan follows, and borrows from, the Wyden-Ryan proposal and the Ryan plan, though it is not identical to them. “Clearly, it’s still a work in progress, and there are a lot of unanswered questions,” he said. “At a high level, the Romney plan is managed competition with premium support. President Obama contends that the plan’s voucher would not keep up with inflation and that traditional Medicare would collapse.”
Perez concluded the webinar by telling his audience, “In the final analysis, both sides are speculating. President Obama hopes providers can withstand the reimbursement reductions and maintain access and quality, while Governor Romney places faith and trust in free-market competition. Voters will be the ultimate arbiters as to which presidential candidate has done a better job of articulating the more plausible and effective plan. Regardless of the election outcome, the call for healthcare providers—to help our society by providing higher-quality care as efficiently as possible—remains the same.”
About the Presenter
Ken Perez has written extensively on healthcare policy issues, such as ACOs, health reform, meaningful use, Medicare, and the sustainable growth rate, and he’s spoken on these issues at healthcare industry meetings in both the U.S. and the U.K.
MedeAnalytics Resource Centers
As a service to the healthcare industry, MedeAnalytics has created a number of resource centers designed to contribute to the conversation about significant healthcare delivery issues and their solutions. Most recently, the company launched one designed to help healthcare decision-makers understand existing Medicare law, Medicare economics, and the impact of the alternative plans for Medicare reform (http://www.medeanalytics.com/medicare-insight). Other resource centers include: Supreme Court Review of Health Reform, Sustainable Growth Rate, Medicare Zero™, Value-Based Purchasing, ICD-10, Accountable Care Organizations, and Medicaid Managed Care.
Founded in 1994, MedeAnalytics delivers performance management solutions across the healthcare system—including hospitals, physician practices and payers—to ensure accountability and improve financial, operational and clinical outcomes. For more information, visit www.medeanalytics.com.