The health care industry is going to be fighting for all it's worth
in the coming weeks for the Super Congress to make Medicare cuts on the beneficiaries side, hoping for a plan that passes and avoids the automatic triggers that would hit Medicare providers.
The American Hospital Association has a strategy for heading off any more Medicare payment cuts: Tell Congress to get the money from Medicare beneficiaries instead.
The association is urging its nearly 5,000 members to lobby Congress to raise the Medicare eligibility age from 65 to 67, in addition to other money-saving alternatives, according to spokeswoman Marie Watteau.[...]
But if the association gets what it hopes for, recent studies suggest that hospitals could hurt themselves in a different way—because more patients would show up at emergency rooms without insurance to pay their hospital bills. And others would have higher out-of-pocket medical costs.
The association responds that it is arguing for a phasing in of the increase, so that by 2014, newly ineligible seniors would be able to get their insurance on the exchanges that will be set up if the Affordable Care Act is not repealed. Here's what the AHA doesn't give a shit about:
[S]ome state hospital officials traveled to Capitol Hill during the recess to pitch the idea to one House Democrat, ignoring a staffer’s stern warnings that the boss was firmly against it. “Every week we hear from someone who is just hanging on, waiting for Medicare coverage,” the staffer said.
The message was clear, the staffer says: “If you’re going to cut money out of Medicare, cut them, not us.”
The AHA doesn't care that seniors in that new eligibility gap "would face an average of $2,200 more each year in premiums and cost-sharing charges." They don't care that this massive cost shift would be hugely expensive for the system as a whole, costing twice as much as would be saved. They only care about keeping their gravy train going.