Is the President really making hard choices to bring America's health care spending under control?
Here are some facts from the Obama budget message spreadsheets (pages 117-127):
- In 2012, three years into the plan, federal health care spending is reduced by $18 billion--to still 97.7% of what it would have been without the cuts.
- In 2019, the Obama budget reduces federal health care spending by $51 billion--to 96.3% of what it would have been.
- Half of the administration's proposed health care spending cuts come from reducing Medicare HMO payments by $177 billion.
- Separating the HMO reductions, looking at just cuts to what we would consider the traditional health care providers--doctors, hospitals, drug companies, home health care--the Obama budget calls for just $6 billion in cuts in 2012 which is less than 1% of what the Medicare and Medicaid budget would have been.
- The total spending cuts to these traditional providers (other than Medicare HMOs) totals $19 billion in 2019, about 1.4% of what the budget would have been.
The Congress has overridden the physician payment cuts called for by the Sustainable Growth Rate Formula eight years in a row--the most recent time this past July when the Congress overrode the pending 10% physician fee cut by eliminating private fee-for-service Medicare in 2011 to pay for it.