Whether it be through reductions to defense or governmental staffing, tomorrow marks the day that the sequester cuts go into effect. It is yet again an issue that has Americans – and especially retirees – quite anxious.
Sources say that Medicare won’t be directly affected, however, the trickle-down affect may cause rumbles to the system. According to an article published by U.S. News, there are three key areas that are cause for health care concern:
- 1. Hospitals: Decreases in Medicare reimbursement for hospitals and skilled nursing facilities are set to total nearly $4.5 billion, or about $1.3 million for the average facility. Such cuts are expected to result in layoffs, especially of nurses, who represent the largest percentage of employees in hospitals.
- 2. Physicians: Medicare payments to doctors could drop by as much as 3 percent to 4 percent, according to some estimates, totaling about $4.1 billion. The reduction in revenue could be the last straw for frustrated physicians who may stop accepting Medicare patients — who tend to be 65 or older — or decide to retire a little sooner than they had planned.
- 3. Research: Federal agencies such as the U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH), the National Science Foundation, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) are each facing funding cuts of about 5 percent, or about $2.5 billion in all. The reductions could slow FDA reviews of proposed new drugs and medical devices, for example, and curtail some services at the CDC — such as infection control and immunization. The real impact on research projects, which are typically long-term efforts, is harder to estimate.
We here at Freedom Home Care hope that the leaders of this nation can create sustainable solutions to long-term debt issues in order to ease the minds of so many American that must rely on Medicare and Social Security. Until an equitable agreement can be made, we will continue to sleep uneasy.