After December 31, 2010 a new health law goes into effect prohibiting physician-owned hospitals opening after that day from taking part in Medicare and other federal health programs. Whereas 30 hospitals are expected to open before the deadline, 44 will be unable to open in time; and, in some cases doctors will have to sell their stakes in order to open. Not only are there restrictions on the hospitals being built, but also on expansions. Some conditions that will be considered for new or expanding physician-owned hospitals are that the hospital is located in a state with a shortage of hospital beds, in a county that is showing growth 50% faster than the rest of the state, or seeing more Medicaid patient than other hospitals in their county. It has been suggested that very few hospitals will be able to meet these requirements. This new law stems from non-profit community hospitals and for-profit institutions without physician investors believing physician-owned hospitals are taking all of the lucrative outpatient surgery. In 2003 there was a moratorium placed on the construction of physician hospitals that lasted until August 2006; and, denying access to Medicare and federal health program funding is the newest attempt to suppress physician-owned hospitals.
Democrats' Projected Bad Election Year
A poor performance by Democratic Party members is expected due to the party's signature health care law, even in states that have voted Democratic predominately. A Battleground Poll shows that 54% of people are opposed to the health care law with 40% of those are strongly opposed, some favoring a repeal of the law. Participants polled by the National Republican Congressional Committee said the issue affecting their vote against the current member of Congress in their district was health care, surprisingly over the economy and jobs. The focus on health care by the administration came at the worst possible time and midterm election projections show Democrats who voted for the law not doing well at all. Especially the Democrats who voted as the decisive margin - the Stupak bloc - who are currently most at risk. The health care law is affecting both House and Senate Democratic members and the White House needs to address the opposition to the law. Or, they need to at least prepare for it, as Republicans elected plan to repeal at least part of the legislation when and if they are elected into office this November.
Paul Ryan's Generation of Conservative Leaders
Republican Paul Ryan, Wisconsin, wrote the book Young Guns: A New Generation of Conservative Leaders with Eric Cantor of Virginia and Kevin McCarthy of California, also Republicans in the House of Representatives. Ryan explains that Medicare is not supported well and needs help in order to continue its existence. In the book, the authors propose that those 55 or older will get Medicare as it is today, but for everyone else Medicare will start at 69 1/2. In their plan, a Medicare payment for the purchase of private health coverage would be distributed. To start the vouchers would cover $11,000 and they would increase with inflation. If beneficiaries have any money left at the end of the year, it will go into a medical savings or go toward long-term care insurance. Additionally, the payment amount would also depend on income, health status, and initially region with those earning under $80,000 a year receiving the full benefits. The midterm reelection gives them position to propose their ideas, if Republicans get control of the House, and protesters set up rallies to warn seniors about these issues before they vote.
November is Around the Corner
Are you ready for this year's Annual Enrollment? Monday is November 1st, and with only a few days left before Annual Enrollment starts on the 15th, make sure you contact Precision Senior Marketing to add all of the best Medicare Supplement products to your portfolio. From Forethought and Gerber Life to Woodmen of the World/Assured Life, Sentinel Life, and United of Omaha, we have the Medicare Supplements your clients are looking for. Give PSM a call at 1-800-998-7715 and enjoy a profitable Annual Enrollment season!
Sources: KHN, USA Today, The Hill, National Journal