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The Politics of Publicly-Funded Health Care

Posted on | January 9, 2008 | Comments Off on The Politics of Publicly-Funded Health Care

What really happens in the budgeting process

Over at Health Care Policy and Marketplace Review, the always-insightful Bob Laszewski walks us through the mechanics of the just-passed federal budget and its health care financing implications for SCHIP, physicians, hospitals, Medicare Advantage plans. This clear, common sense analysis is a must-read for anyone interested in how the budget process actually works.

The final bill had 12,000 earmarks, testimony to the continuing domination of special interests over the common interest. Everyone facing a cut got a reprieve, but all the same issues (and cuts) will be on the table in the near future. Here’s one of Bob’s summary paragraphs.

Late in 2008, the docs will be facing a 15% Medicare fee cut on January 1, 2009, SCHIP will be out of money a few months later on March 1, 2008, the extra payments to Medicare Advantage plans will present the same plump target, and we will know who won the November elections.

So the cuts were held off. Nothing really changed. And once again, our Congressional representatives on both sides of the aisle made decisions that accrued much more to the interests of their contributors than those they claim to represent.

(Brian Klepper is a health care analyst and commentator based in Atlantic Beach, FL. He can be reached at bklepper@gmail.com. Opinions expressed by Health Commentary guest bloggers do not necessarily represent the views of Health Commentary.)

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