HealthLawProf Blog

Editor: Katharine Van Tassel
Akron Univ. School of Law

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Monday, June 18, 2007

Medicare and the Elderly Ill

Great post entitled, Twilight Years Should be Golden" at Daily Kos by mpwife discussing the tremendous burden that Medicare can place on the elderly.  She concludes:

In an attempt to cut back costs and reform the programs, the Republican congress and President, over the past years, have converted Medicare  and Medicaid plans to either health maintenance organizations or preferred provider organizations.  Although most look good on paper, often times, doctors and patients are left jumping through hoops, trying to get needed tests, under these plans. 

The enrollment process for these plans are often confusing to even the youngest of Medicare and/or Medicaid patients.  They're deluged with information, that, unless you're an insurance specialist, or in the healthcare field, is often difficult to understand.

We can lay the blame on the doctors and facilities for wanting more money, but let's not.  I work for a company that provides information systems to healthcare providers.  The payments providers receive from MCR/MCD for services are often less then what it cost to perform the services that are approved.  Should the insurance companies deny the claim, then practices who I work with usually end up writing off the cost of these services and continue to treat these patients.  These are physicians who take their hippocratic oath seriously.

Rather then laying blame, our elected officials must continue to work at providing a healthcare package for those individuals who are in need our governments assistance.  As the 2008 elections approach, our Presidential candidates on both sides of the aisle are jockeying for support to get them past the primary.  While the candidates on the right discuss terrorism, abortion and family values, it's the Democratic candidates, or some of them, that are discussing healthcare reform and comprehensive healthcare packages. 

It is imperative, that as our parents or even ourselves reach our twilight years, to elect an individual who is truly interested in ensuring that the elderly, especially the poorest of them, receives the quality of healthcare necessary to allow those years to be golden.

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