Cuts should be reversed

What others say

Posted: Friday, December 12, 2003

President Bush ... signed into law a new Medicare drug benefit, calling it, ''the greatest advance in health care coverage for America's seniors since the founding of Medicare.''

Long before the ceremony, presidential aides and congressional leaders were hunting for how to pay for the costly expansion of the federal health insurance program. The troubling choices they made will harm the very seniors now being courted with the Medicare reforms.

Cutbacks in aid to outpatient cancer care, as well as to thousands of inpatient rehabilitation centers ... are two of the most questionable cost-saving measures. ...

While the new outpatient drug benefit is being hailed as a means of modernizing Medicare, the program plans to issue rules that sharply curtail the procedures rehab hospitals and clinics can perform. As many as three out of four facilities could close, hospital officials say.

Medicare honchos belatedly are promising to rework the rehab rules, but any formula that shortchanges much-needed therapy makes no sense. ...

These are hurtful cuts Congress should reverse in the name of healing.

The Philadelphia Inquirer - Dec. 9

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