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One month after the Obama administration unveiled an experiment to revamp the Medicare Part B program, more than a dozen Republican Senators are urging that it be withdrawn. At the same time, House Republicans and Democrats are circulating letters among themselves that express varying degrees of concern with the program.

In a letter sent on Friday to the US Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, the Senators charged that the program would “severely disrupt care for vulnerable beneficiaries with cancer” and other serious medical conditions. They also complained that CMS failed to undertake a fully transparent process to assemble its program.


At issue is an attempt by the administration to encourage greater use of lower-cost, but equally effective treatments. The Part B program covers injectable and infused medications for the elderly. The government also maintains its plan will be budget-neutral, or will not cost additional money.

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  • As a former democrat, turned independent, I can assert with absolute certainty that Obama is no friend of either social security or medicare. He underfunded social security by 1/4 of a trillion dollars with his 2011 and 2012 payroll tax credits (each year underfunding the program by $125 billion), we have no COLA increase on social security for 3 of the 7 years Obama has been in office and can expect almost none his last year in office, and he cut $750 billion from medicare at least one year that he’s been in office, which he called a reduction of waste and fraud, which was a cut in benefits, no matter what he called it.

  • This is the intention. Dr Ezekiel Emmanuel, one of the architects of OBAMA CARE says that the reason healthcare is so expensive it that it’s based on individual patient’s needs. There most be a shift away from that paradigm to what benefits society as a whole. What is the minimal amount of healthcare needed to sustain the healthiest portion of the population? The elderly and the sickly young must be jettisoned when healthcare is to be rationed. This is just the beginning with the Medicare Part B experiment.

  • Please try to understand that if you cut Medicare payments on certain specific treatments thousands, or tens of thousands people will have their very lives at stake, including mine. Before starting immunoglobulin infusions at home, I was in the hospital all the time with lung infections, sinus infections, pancreatitis; my lungs are irreversibly damaged due to late diagnosis and treatment. Without my weekly infusions, I will get sick, then sicker and sicker until death takes me. My death, and so many more, will be in your hands if you cut our benefits. Say it: I will die without my infusions.

  • if you are on Medicare and don’t like it, get out. You do not have to use a government program if you don’t like it. Go back to the old system, although you probably would not get any care unless you paid your own way, because no insurance company would insure you. But at least you would get “the no good government” out of your life.

  • Why not spend the same amount of time and resources encouraging the drug companies to manufacture lower priced drugs with the same effects. The drug companies have us (especially the senior population) at gu point
    Why not spend the same amount of time and resources monitoring and encouraging the drug companies to produce more inexpensive drugs with the same effects. The drug companies have this country (especially the senior population) in their grasps. The salaries and bonuses of drug company executives in this country is ludicrous. And the prices we are paying for drugs is criminal. Address this issue instead of penalizing the doctors and patients!!

  • STOP this insanity, we all deserve the best quality medical care, we paid into the system!! Save money by GIVING free healthcare to the people that have NOT contributed into the system!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Humm, who loses $? The doctors and hospitals get the average retail plus 2.5% plus a flat $16.50 instead of 6%. The average sales price stays the same. The doctor or hospital can still select any drug they want. So, it seems like the doctors and hospitals are out the additional 4.5% of the astronomical drug price for sitting the patient down and sticking in a needle. Is that the problem??? When paid as a straight percentage of the average retail, doctors and hospitals get paid more and patient and government get the same. Humm. Whose problem is this? Bring on the lobbyists. They are sure to help.

    • If you think delivering chemotherapy or other infusion drugs is just ‘sticking in a needle’ you are sorely mistaken. It requires a hell of a lot more specialized work and attention for which the doctors don’t get paid. Also, if you read some of the opposition the issue isn’t that they are going to cut income by a % of money, it is that they will literally be losing money on drugs. And finaly, if you trust the government to come up with a decision that one drug is more valuable than the other I wouldn’t. Wait until someone you love has cancer and then decide if you want the best drugs out there being restricted because someone in DC says it should be.

    • Both of you are wrong. The Medicare Modernization Act created the ASP
      (average selling price) rule. In essence they created it and now they have buyer’s remorse. CMS has cut physician payments consistently over time and we may lose good community physicians- which studies have shown lower the overall healthcare costs rather than hospitals. Check COA’s website.
      If CMS cuts the ASP- community practices will be hurt. The costs to obtain, store and administer drugs is expensive. The subject matter is complex and being flippant serves no purpose in comments when you don’t understand. It is better that noneducated people not comment on things they don’t understand.
      Healthcare is a business in the US. We are a capitalist society. It is a government that I believe works. People continually try to change America to a government controlled society. Why? If one does not like it go then they need to go to another country. Good luck on getting adequate health services especially in India, Canada, Italy and Greece. That’s a whole other complex issue in healthcare.
      Our healthsystem is not broken but it is fragmented. That has been the nature of the evolution of healthcare. We have had a lack of tools. As we became more technically savvy healthcare will benefit.
      Our government knew that the aging baby boomers were coming and they did nothing to prepare for this demand on healthcare. All we have is our humanity and we should take care of everyone’s health- top priority.

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