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USA Today
History often repeats itself, and that reality is a daunting one for seniors in Medicare Advantage. While some have argued that cuts to the popular program would do nothing to jeopardize seniors' health benefits, precedent tells us this isn't true. In 1997, Congress passed substantial cuts to Medicare Advantage, then known as Medicare+Choice. As a result, between 1999 and 2003, nearly 2.4 million seniors lost their health care coverage. That's a dangerous precedent.
Brookings Institute
Late last week, House leaders approved a 12-month short-term patch to prevent looming physician payment cuts that would threaten access to health care for millions of Americans. Another short-term ‘doc-fix’—or legislative repair made to the broken Medicare Sustainable Growth Rate (SGR) system—did not come as a surprise, but carried substantial frustration and disappointment.
The sustainable growth rate was envisioned as “a way to ensure that medical-cost growth in Medicare didn’t go out of control,” said Kavita Patel, a fellow and managing director at the Brookings Institution in Washington who’s also a practicing primary care physician. Congress didn’t then -- and still doesn’t -- have an appetite for cutting doctor payments. Rather, Patel said, the sustainable growth rate was focused on the “out years” when costs were projected to rise.
The Hill
Federal policymaking has a rich history of bad ideas, so there is a comparably deep well of techniques to spin them—as “tough decisions,” parts of a long-term plan for success, and even – counting on denial to trump reality – simply the best and smartest course of action. But really bad ideas, and policies, are in the end simply hard to disguise.