Broder Gets It – Sort Of February 11, 2007Posted by Jim Satterfield in Health Care, Politics.
David Broder has all too often lately seemed to not understand the mis-steps of the Bush Administration as well as I’d like, but overall is far less objectionable than others who are ideologically blinded to them. Today’s column calls them to task for their chicanery in what can only laughingly be called a budget. He does a good job of pointing out many of the games and misrepresentations in it. Where does he fall down?
When it comes to the health care cuts he has this to say:
Bush also has described, in blunt terms, the dismal financial prospects for Medicare — premiums will have to increase fivefold to sustain the program unless some way is found to curb health-care inflation. As a start on alleviating that crisis, Bush has proposed $66 billion in savings over the next five years, achieved mainly by trimming payments to providers and boosting premiums for the well-to-do.
Congressional Democrats are screaming even about these modest changes, but the problem is real. Bush would be in a stronger position to secure these savings if he were not pretending that he can balance the budget by 2012 while preserving all his tax cuts.
The emphasis is mine. What’s wrong with these “modest changes” in my mind? The fact that they depend on that old standby of shafting the providers is what bothers me. While it might seem that the small amount being cut shouldn’t make any difference remember that we’ve seen all of this before. The amounts currently being paid to health care providers is already too small. There are providers who won’t take Medicaid right now. If we take this path for Medicare we’re probably heading towards patients having the same problems that they currently have with Medicaid where it’s difficult to find providers who take it. This isn’t reform of the system, it’s just claiming to do something that has to be done because the effort of true reform seems to be beyond them.