Americans who turn age 65 beginning in 2022 would choose a private health plan paid for with an adjustable subsidy from the government under House Republicans' 2012 budget proposal. The proposal restructures the Medicare and Medicaid programs in an effort to cut $5.8 trillion in projected federal spending over the next decade, says an article by Medscape Medical News.
The government subsidy provided in the new Medicare structure would be lower for wealthier Americans and higher for sick beneficiaries whose conditions worsen. Low-income beneficiaries would receive extra assistance to cover out-of-pocket expenses. Beneficiaries enrolled in the traditional Medicare program before 2022 would stay in that program.
Titled "The Path to Prosperity," the proposal also would turn Medicaid into a simple block-grant program in which the federal share of the program is capped. Additional savings would be gained by limiting noneconomic (pain and suffering) damages in medical malpractice cases. The proposal also addresses the 29.5% cut in Medicare reimbursement for providers paid under the Medicare physician fee schedule next year by instituting an unspecified 10-year "fix" of the payment formula, says the article.
House Democrats say they'll soon release a 2012 budget bill to counter the Republican plan.
Click here to read The Hill's "point-by-point analysis" of the proposal.