Thursday, June 2, 2011

The Tea Party Wants to Kill Grandma... No Really...

Grandma has a message for the Tea Party / GOP...
Hey, if they can have "death panels," we can have "dead grandma."  But seriously, cuts to Medicare do, in fact, harm health outcomes.  Especially in a fee-for-service system like ours where access is dictated by dollars and dollars alone.  The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation has a summary of a study (which is locked behind a paywall) which examined the relationship between Medicare spending and health outcomes.
The average total medical spending for the three years of observation was $27,092, per person with total Medicare spending $16,293 (40% lower). The researchers found that a 10 percent higher level of medical spending was associated with a 1.9 percent increase in a person’s health score and a 1.5 percent greater survival probability.
The Incidental Economist offers a citation from the original study and a nice wrap-up line the extent that our results indicate that on average, across the entire range of medical spending and health conditions, the relationship between medical spending and health is positive, then across-the-board reductions in or limits on Medicare spending may result in poorer health for some Medicare beneficiaries. Moreover, because the variation in medical spending in our analyses was driven by variations in practice patterns across geographic areas […] then targeting Medicare spending reductions on geographic areas with high average Medicare costs per beneficiary would also appear to be unwarranted.

In other words, according to their findings, cutting Medicare reimbursements to providers would harm health, even in areas with above average spending.
The Tea Party / GOP is killing Grandma indeed....

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