Unclear Outlook for 2011
What will happen next year in healthcare? Will the new Republican Congress defund some of President Obama’s healthcare programs? Will physicians be forced to take a 23% cut in Medicare payment?
As an AP story reports today:
“The scheduled cuts — the result of a failed system set up years ago to control costs — have raised alarms that real damage to Medicare could result if the lame-duck Congress winds up in a partisan standoff and fails to act by Dec. 1. That’s when an initial 23 percent reduction would hit.”
“Neither Democrats nor newly empowered Republicans want the sudden cuts, but there’s no consensus on how to stave them off. The debate over high deficits complicates matters, since every penny going to make doctors whole will probably have to come from cuts elsewhere.”
Today, Health Data Management ran an “e-poll” on its web site, asking if readers thought that Republican wins would mean major changes in health IT policy.
The results showed 39% of readers felt there would be “no change,” while 33% believed there would be major changes. Smaller percentages chose “minor changes” in the law.
Bottom line: no one really nows what will happen in 2011. What we do know is that the current trajectory – with healthcare taking up an ever-increasing portion of GDP – is unsustainable.