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Are Medicare changes savings or cuts?

Date published: 5/20/2014

Are Medicare changes savings or cuts?

A May 11 editorial accuses Speaker Bill Howell of using "scare tactics" in a letter to constituents on future cuts to Medicare and says those cuts are really just "savings" that make the program more efficient.

However, on several occasions within the last several months, in both news stories and commentaries, the FLS has mentioned impending Medicare cuts as a reason why Virginia should adopt Medicaid expansion.

So, either the Medicare cuts are real--and hospitals, as they and the FLS have been claiming for months, need the money from Medicaid expansion in order to offset those costs--or these cuts are really just "savings" and the hospitals don't need Medicaid expansion in order to make up for them.

It's one or the other. It can't be both.

Make your case, but do not impugn the integrity or motives of those who disagree, especially Speaker Howell, a man of impeccable character.

As a physician, I urge our state governmental leadership to work together to address the health care needs of the less fortunate.

The present plan is not necessarily the only way or the best way to expand care for the indigent and working poor.

My specialty practice withdrew from Virginia Premier Medicaid participation due to serious bureaucratic issues that our best efforts were unable to resolve.

The ACA plan for Medicaid expansion will very likely create significant issues of availability of specialty care. So Speaker Howell's pragmatic approach--reform the program and evaluate the costs--is to be applauded on principle. Most importantly, he has resisted the governor's attempt to dictate by holding the budget hostage.

Regardless of how you feel about Medicaid expansion, we should all agree that threatening a Washington-style government shutdown is bad for Virginia.

C. Rosser Massey III, M.D.