Thursday, August 05, 2010

UNPRECEDENTED: Medicare Chief Actuary Disavows Trustees’ Report

For the first time in Medicare history, the Medicare Chief Actuary has called the projections in a Medicare Trustees Report “unreasonable” and “implausible” and encouraged everyone to ignore them and view instead an “Illustrative Alternative” report. The alternative opens this way:
The Trustees Report is necessarily based on current law; as a result of questions regarding the operations of certain Medicare provisions, however, the projections shown in the report do not represent the “best estimate” of actual future Medicare expenditures.
Noting that the formal Trustees report assumes Medicare physician fees will be reduced by 30% over the next three years, Chief Actuary Richard Foster says that’s “implausible.” In addition, the Trustees report assumes Medicare fees will fall below Medicaid rates by 2019 and fall further and further behind private payment rates in future years, as the following chart shows: