Trump’s Executive Order on Medicare Could Raise Patients’ Costs

Via Kaiser Health News:

The president’s executive order released last week includes provisions that could significantly alter key pillars of the program by making it easier for beneficiaries and doctors to opt out. The bottom line: The proposed changes might make it a bit simpler to find a doctor who takes new Medicare patients, but it could lead to higher costs for seniors and potentially expose some to surprise medical bills, a problem from which Medicare has traditionally protected consumers.  “Unless these policies are thought through very carefully, the potential for really bad unintended consequences is front and center,” said economist Stephen Zuckerman, vice president for health policy at the Urban Institute. While the executive order spells out few details, it calls for the removal of “unnecessary barriers” to private contracting, which allows patients and doctors to negotiate their own deals outside of Medicare. It’s an approach long supported by some conservatives, but critics fear it would lead to higher costs for patients. The order also seeks to ease rules that affect beneficiaries who want to opt out of the hospital portion of Medicare, known as Part A. The specifics will not emerge until the Department of Health and Human Services writes the rules to implement the executive order, which could take six months or longer. In the meantime, this article discusses few things you should know about the possible Medicare changes.

 

Source/more: Kaiser Health News
Related: Among Vague Language and Proposals, Real Harm to Medicare Beneficiaries