The Two Ted Kennedys

I’m up at Spot-On explaining the Ted Kennedy Medicare miracle to the masses and suggesting that there are some real long-term problems that won’t be so easy for the Dems to solve later. As ever come back here to comment.

Well, lookee there: Congressional Democrats actually won one. That’s right. After 14 years of ignoring core liberal principles – including the last 18 months when they actually had a majority – they took on the Republicans and won.

How did this happen? Well, it’s an election year, and by forcing an issue that Congress has been putting off for years — automatic cuts in Medicare physician payments — Democrats seized the chance to score a few points.

Essentially, the Democrats decided that, instead of agreeing to another fudged compromise to put off the decision to cut payments, they’d set the insurers against the doctors. So they found the money to put off those automatic cuts by taking some away from private Medicare insurers. Now, it was a bit of a surprise that so many House Republicans joined them and drop-kicked the insurers with whom they’ve been aligned for so long, although of course they’re all up for re-election. But once there was a veto-proof majority in the House, the Senate Democrats realized that they could force the issue and score a political win.

Read the rest.

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Categories: Physicians

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ReadcabmdGreg Pawelski Recent comment authors
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Great blog. I appreciate the info on amount of care correlated with outcome. The discussion around the cost-effectiveness of procedures/drugs is different in the US vs Canada. While there are cost-effective measures taken within Medicare, Medicare payments often subsidize other services, especially hospital charity care. But here universal care is had when hospital ERs give charity care. This charity pay is subsidized by (over) performing profitable services (mostly funded by Medicare) and DSH payments (more of our tax dollars). Government dollars therefore flow into other aspects of care. So Medicare ‘rationing’ within Medicare is much more ineffective as it’s not… Read more »


Matthew, I am somewhat put off by your comments concerning what I assume to be overutilization of healthcare resources in terminal medical conditions and situations. Your paragraph in Spot-On: “The second argument is less well known. The types and amount of treatment all patients receive, including the very, very sick, vary tremendously in different parts of the country. More importantly, perhaps, the data is pretty clear that less care results in better outcomes. So potentially we could provide all the effective medical care that’s needed while providing less actual care.” This reads as a generalization implying a statistical correlation between… Read more »

Greg Pawelski
Greg Pawelski

If Ted Kennedy wants to have better medical care, and he thinks that a super-specialist at Duke University would be better for him than at his home in Boston, that is his prerogative. When I got an appointment for my wife (who had a fast-growing brain met) to see a neurosurgeon at my local community hospital, it wasn’t for four weeks. I had to brow-beat a teaching hospital further away to get an appointment and operation ASAP. You gotta do what you gotta do for the love of your life. She had her stitches taken out of her skull on… Read more »