Will the quality of care from public health programs such as Medicare and Medicaid improve?


General Reference (not clearly pro or con)
James Arvantes, reporter for the American Academy of Family Physicians publication AAFP News Now, wrote in his July 28, 2010 article "Health Care Reform Law Will Increase Demand for Preventive Services, Say Experts":

"The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act... will require new health plans... to cover and eliminate copays, deductibles and coinsurance amounts for preventive services rated 'A' or 'B' by the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force... and recommended by agencies such as HHS [Department of Health and Human Services].

The... provisions will apply to the Medicaid and Medicare programs as of Jan. 1, 2011... This requirement is expected to boost patient access to dozens of services, including cholesterol screening tests, routine vaccinations, many cancer screenings, prenatal care, and regular wellness visits for infants and children.

...[T]he full impact of the provisions is not altogether clear... HHS estimates that the provisions will eliminate financial barriers for 41 million people within the next year. However, this fact likely will lead to a much greater demand for preventive services...

The new law's provisions could lead to patients having a difficult time getting an appointment with an increasingly small pool of primary care physicians. But they also will mean that primary care physicians will be able to catch many chronic problems before they become acute."


July 28, 2010 - James Arvantes 



PRO (yes)

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services stated the following in their Nov. 16, 2010 press release on "The New Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation," available at www.innovations.cms.gov:

"Created by the Affordable Care Act, the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation aims to explore innovations in health care delivery and payment that will enhance the quality of care for Medicare and Medicaid beneficiaries...
The Innovation Center will consult a diverse group of stakeholders... This dialogue will center on three areas of emphasis...
Better Care for Individuals: Improving care for patients in formal care settings like hospitals, nursing homes, and doctors' offices, and developing innovations that make care safer, more patient-centered, more efficient, more effective, more timely, and more equitable...
Coordinating Care to Improve Health Outcomes for Patients: Developing new models that make it easier for doctors and clinicians in different care settings to work together to care for a patient...
Community Care Models: Exploring steps to improve public health and make communities healthier and stronger."

Nov. 16, 2010 - Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) 



The National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare (NCPSSM) stated on its website, ncpssm.org, in a Mar. 2010 position paper titled "Seniors and Health Care Reform: Separating Truth from Fiction – How Reform Will Strengthen Medicare and Expand Benefits for Seniors":

"Seniors will enjoy expanded benefits and better medical care...

In a key improvement designed to help keep seniors healthy, preventive care will no longer require co-payments, the number of covered preventive services will be expanded, and for the first time, Medicare will cover an annual wellness visit and personalized prevention plan for every beneficiary."


Mar. 2010 - National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare (NCPSSM) 



Louise M. Slaughter, MS, US Representative (D-NY), in an article titled "The Benefits of Health Care Reform in the 28th Congressional District of New York," posted on her official website (accessed August 20, 2010), wrote:

"Health care reform will dramatically improve the quality of health care services for seniors, reduce prescription drug costs, and improve access to preventative services...

By encouraging doctors to improve coordination, Medicare subscribers will see an improvement in the quality of care through fewer errors, a reduction in duplicative tests, and less paperwork..."


August 20, 2010 - Louise M. Slaughter, MS 



Kathleen Sebelius, MPA, US Secretary of Health & Human Services (HHS), in the brochure Medicare and the New Health Care Law — What It Means for You, produced by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) at HHS, reproduced on the official Medicare website (accessed Aug. 20, 2010), stated:

"The Affordable Care Act passed by Congress and signed by President Obama this year will provide you and your family greater savings and increased quality health care...

Your guaranteed Medicare benefits won’t change... Instead, you will see new benefits and cost savings, and an increased focus on quality to ensure that you get the care you need."


Aug. 20, 2010 - Kathleen Sebelius, MPA 



AARP, in the "Myths Vs Facts" page on its "Health Action Now!" reform advocacy website, healthactionnow.org (accessed Aug. 26, 2010), stated:

"Myth: Health care reform will hurt Medicare...

Fact: Health care reform will protect seniors' access to their doctors and reduce the cost of preventive services so patients stay healthier...

Bottom Line: For people in Medicare, health care reform is about... improving the quality of care, and eliminating billions in waste that is causing poor care and medical errors."


Aug. 26, 2010 - AARP 



The Alliance for Retired Americans, in its Apr. 2010 Fact Sheet titled "Medicare Benefits and Changes," made available on its website, retiredamericans.org, stated:

"Patient care under Medicare will improve as pilot programs to improve efficiencies are implemented. Doctors and hospitals are encouraged to coordinate care through payment incentives. For the first time, Medicare will reward quality, not quantity; thus, bonus payments will be given to those doctors and hospitals that provide good quality care."


Apr. 2010 - Alliance for Retired Americans 



CON (no)

Investor's Business Daily (IBD), in its Mar. 4, 2010 editorial titled "The Doctor Shortage," stated:

"...[O]ur care will suffer. If the Democrats' plans become law, fewer than 700,000 physicians would be available to treat a patient population growing in size, aging in years, shunning medical education and receiving 'free' health care or insurance coverage from the government in increasing numbers.

The result will be longer wait times to see a doctor and a decline in the high quality of care Americans are accustomed to as overworked physicians try to keep up."


Mar. 4, 2010 - Investor's Business Daily (IBD) 



Janice Shaw Crouse, PhD, Senior Fellow at the Concerned Women for America (CWA) Beverly LaHaye Institute (BLI) and former speechwriter for US President George H. W. Bush, wrote in her Aug. 6, 2010 article "ObamaCare Decisions Will Be Made by Sebelius," posted on the CWA's website, cwfa.org:

"...[W]e already know that much of ObamaCare will be funded out of cuts from Medicare, which means rationing and decreased quality care for the elderly."

Aug. 6, 2010 - Janice Shaw Crouse, PhD 



Ed Gillespie, Republican State Leadership Committee Chairman and former Republican National Committee (RNC) Chairman, stated during a Dec. 20, 2009 roundtable discussion on NBC's Meet the Press, moderated by host David Gregory:

"...[The bill includes] $471 billion in Medicare cuts. People are going to see their quality of care go down... whether you're a Medicare beneficiary or a private insurance beneficiary."

[Editors Note:  In March 2010, President Obama signed the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (HR 3590), the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act of 2010 (HR 4872), and Executive Order 13535 which restricted federal funds from being used for abortion services. Pro, Con, or Not Clearly Pro or Con positions made prior to the final wording of these three elements of the health care reform legislation may have changed since March 2010.]


Dec. 20, 2009 - Ed Gillespie 



Dick Morris, former Campaign Manager for President Bill Clinton and political analyst on FOX News Channel, and Eileen McGann, attorney and former public interest lobbyist, wrote in their Aug. 18, 2009 New York Post op-ed "It's All a Death Panel: The Truth About ObamaCare":

"Whether or not he admits it even to himself, Obama's talk of cutting 'inefficiencies' and reducing costs translates to less care, of lower quality, for the elderly. Every existing national health system finds ways to deny state-of-the-art medications and necessary surgical procedures to countless patients, and ObamaCare has the nascent mechanisms to do the same."

[Editors Note:  In March 2010, President Obama signed the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (HR 3590), the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act of 2010 (HR 4872), and Executive Order 13535 which restricted federal funds from being used for abortion services. Pro, Con, or Not Clearly Pro or Con positions made prior to the final wording of these three elements of the health care reform legislation may have changed since March 2010.]


Aug. 18, 2009 - Eileen McGann 
Dick Morris 



Jon Kyl, LLB, US Senator (R-AZ), during the Dec. 1, 2009 US Senate Session, stated:

"...Who pays?... America's seniors, because about half of the cost of the bill is allegedly paid for by cuts to Medicare.

...This is about $500 billion in Medicare cuts as follows: $137.5 billion from hospitals who treat seniors; $120 billion from Medicare Advantage, which is the insurance program that provides benefits to seniors which will be cut more than in half...; $14.6 billion from nursing homes that treat seniors; $42.1 billion from home health care for seniors; and $7.7 billion from hospice care, one of the most cruel cuts of all.

Obviously, with cuts this dramatic there is no way to avoid jeopardizing the care seniors now enjoy, and seniors know this... The care they have been promised will be compromised to pay for this new government entitlement under the bill."

[Editors Note:  In March 2010, President Obama signed the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (HR 3590), the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act of 2010 (HR 4872), and Executive Order 13535 which restricted federal funds from being used for abortion services. Pro, Con, or Not Clearly Pro or Con positions made prior to the final wording of these three elements of the health care reform legislation may have changed since March 2010.]


Dec. 1, 2009 - Jon Kyl, LLB