Medicaid and Health Care Reform

Health care reform is a very huge issue in the United States since a good number of the population consists of retirees. Many of these senior citizens are becoming more and more concerned about the longevity and funding of Medicaid, Medicare and other government health programs. As health care costs keep on increasing, the Obama administration is very keen on including health care reforms in the 2010 Fiscal Budget. President Obama has recognized savings which could amount to a reserve fund for the projected health care reform program. They are projecting that nearly half of the funding would come from proposals to create revenue, whereas the rest will be taken from Medicaid and Medicare reserves.

The Medicaid and Medicare savings proposals can reduce premiums for physician and outpatient services by about $33 billion over the next decade according to White House estimates. And because of these proposals, beneficiaries can also expect improvements in the quality of their Medicare services.

The reserve fund comprise of a number of Medicare and Medicaid savings proposals. One is the improvement of the accuracy of Medicare and Medicaid payments. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) need to build up their integrity efforts and to deal with flaws that have resulted to billions in overpayments and fraud every year.

Another proposal aims to reduce Medicare over payments to private insurers. This would save taxpayers roughly $177 billion over 10 years and lessen Part B premiums as well. This would be carried out through the creation of a competitive system in which payments are rooted on an average of bids submitted to Medicare.

The health care reform savings proposals also intend to reduce hospital readmission rates and improve post-hospital care. A program consisting of incentive payments and penalties will be put into action which could lead to better care and fewer re-admissions. This can save approximately $25 billion over 10 years according to projections.

Hospital Quality Improvement Program expansion is also part of the health care reform proposal.  This can improve quality of care for beneficiaries and will be done by matching a portion of Medicare payments for acute in-patient hospital services to hospital performance on certain quality criteria. Medicare and Medicaid would save around $12 billion over 10 years from this proposal.

When it comes to health care, people need quality and not quantity, and part of the reforms look into decreasing waste, abuse and fraud. Unnecessary treatments can pose risks to patient health and can be quite expensive. To stop physicians from doing unnecessary treatments, the Obama administration recommends increasing scrutiny in high-risk areas or for physicians who have records of making excessive amounts of high-risk services.

Health insurance, Medicaid and health care reform are definitely significant topics for United States citizens, since they are directly affected by possible changes in policies. It’s important for them to keep informed of the facts, be cautious of false propaganda about health care reform, and supporting legislation that addresses their needs. Under the Obama administrations health care reform plans many people will be able to keep their Medicaid, Medicare and other health insurance as well as getting care from very competitive doctors.