It is a fact that seniors in the U.S. are living longer than many of our parents and grandparents. This is the good news. But along with that is the fact that many seniors experience the reality that their joints are wearing out.
To deal with this medical science has developed hip and knee replacement surgeries are very effective and, for the most part, greatly improve the quality of life of seniors who need them.
However, they cost money and Medicare must pay for them. Or more accurately, Medicare must pay the surgeons who perform them, as well as the hospitals and other supporting services and staff. But surgeons are unhappy that this year Medicare is reducing the amount of money it will pay for those types of surgeries.
According to one surgeon in an article in Statnews, “This year, Medicare again reduced surgeon reimbursement while recommending an 8.5% lift for hospitals. Hospitals, though, are prohibited from prescribing or directing care. Only physicians can do that. Therefore, they are best positioned to create value since they orchestrate the entire episode of care. How does rewarding hospitals with more taxpayer dollars and cutting pay for the surgeons who help bring in patients save money?”
Certainly, if health care providers will not accept Medicare, it will put the health of seniors at real risk and it is something we all need to be concerned about and keep an eye on.