KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

Seniors Worry About Impact Of Reform Proposals On Medicare

"Turns out you can fear a government takeover of health care even if the government already took over your health care," The Associated Press reports. "The trepidation that's taken hold among the elderly over Obama's drive to remake the nation's health care system is turning into one more political headache for Democrats.... Older Americans, who vote at a higher rate than other age groups, also hold deeper concerns than others about proposed health care changes, surveys have shown. ... Republicans are moving to exploit those concerns, producing a 'Seniors' Health Care Bill of Rights' this week that touches on sensitive points, including protecting Medicare and ensuring government doesn't come between patients and doctors."

"Yet a problem for Democrats is that mixed in with the misinformation there are some real causes for concern, some analysts say. Evolving health care legislation probably will be paid for in part by cutting some $500 billion from Medicare over 10 years. Obama and his supporters say the cuts would not affect benefits and would strengthen Medicare by reducing fraud and abuse and attacking inefficiencies such as unnecessary hospital readmissions and overpayments to insurance companies that operate private plans within Medicare. But some health care experts say some seniors will probably have to pay more along the way" (Werner, 8/27).

NPR interviews Republican Party Chairman Michael Steele, who "opposes a government-run health care system, as do most members of his party. While most health care overhaul proposals assume big savings by reworking Medicare, Steele tells Steve Inskeep that Medicare needs to be protected and not cut in the name of health insurance reform" (Morning Edition, 8/27).

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