EDITORIAL : GRAVELY ILL PATIENT MEDICARE GROWS SICKER BY THE MINUTE, BUT CLINTON AND CONGRESS REFUSE TO OFFER.
Certainly, neither side offered any substantial changes to Medicare under the recent balanced-budget agreement. The proposed budget would simply squeeze payments to hospitals, nursing homes and other Medicare health-care providers in order to save $115 billion over five years.
While cutting the payments to doctors and hospitals will slow the growth of Medicare spending for a few years, it will do little to slow the program's spending over the long run because it does nothing to encourage efficiency.
That means a crisis is looming in about 10 years. While the details over the budget must still be worked out, little evidence exists to suggest a Republican-controlled Congress will force changes with substance.
Unfortunately, no one is pushing proposals pitched earlier this year by the Heritage Foundation, a conservative think tank, to allow the elderly to pick their own managed-care plans, which would mean significant savings for a long time.
But the squeamishness of Clinton and Republicans to tackle the problem now makes it all the harder to deal with the issue in a reasonable manner four years from now.
Until the public puts pressure on a weak-kneed Clinton and an anemic Congress to provide real reform, Medicare will languish unattended.
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|Publication:||Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)|
|Date:||May 13, 1997|
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