Business TN – Wizard of Oz?

Remember the Wizard of Oz? Dorothy is searching for the Wizard to send her back home. But when she finds him, he is hiding behind a curtain shouting, “Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain!!” Congress today is playing the role of the Wizard with the Medicare program. Medicare beneficiaries are looking for the Wizard to make everything right again. Yet just like the movie, this Wizard must ultimately proclaim, “I can’t come back – I don’t know how it works!!” The problem? Baby boomers begin to turn age 65 in 2010 and the growth of Medicare spending will begin to skyrocket to a level well beyond the government’s ability to pay. While every single member of Congress knows that Medicare is on a collision course with disaster – there has been a multi-year concerted effort NOT to address the issue. It isn’t because of a lack of understanding – or a lack of viable options – but because of a willingness to throw seniors under the Medicare bus because it is politically expedient to do so. Democrats won’t give the President a “victory” on fixing Medicare – and Republicans won’t give Democrats a “victory”. Stalemate. The November …

Healthcare – Change is Brewing in Washington

Nashville Post – October 2006 Healthcare providers have recovered very well since the Balanced Budget Act of 1997 (BBA), which significantly reduced payments to healthcare providers. As the bill began to be implemented in 1998 and 1999, almost everyone who did business with Medicare suffered. Since then, however, almost all the major sectors have enjoyed a strong rebound. In the aggregate, the industry is healthy … perhaps too healthy to forestall another round of reimbursement cuts. Within in the next few weeks, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) will announce whether the largest change in the hospital reimbursement system since the 1980’s will be implemented on October 1, 2006. The industry and selected Senators, including Senator Grassley, Chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, have called for a one year delay in implementation. It is likely that CMS will listen and the changes will start in October 2007. While the changes are designed to be “budget neutral”, healthcare providers are concerned. Time will tell whether these changes simply shift dollars from highly profitable procedures like heart surgery and cardiac stent implantation to other less profitable procedures. Often the implementation of new programs has created unintended consequences and both industry …