The proposed changes to Medicaid and Medicare by Congressman, and Republican Vice Presidential candidate, Paul Ryan will undoubtedly change the landscape of 24/7 emergency care. U.S. emergency rooms, with 123.8 million visits per year, are a staple in many communities, especially inner city and rural areas.
As ER physicians, we are the relative safety net for certain aspects of health care, so anything and everything that affects health care, affects us in the ER. That rolls over to our patients, including how long they wait to be seen and the services we can offer.
A Medicare proposal of premium support — a government payment to each Medicare recipient to cover health care expenses — seems on first glance promising, but leaves holes. Many seniors can barely afford their daily expenses on a fixed income; so keeping up with additional costs if their health expenses exceed the payment will be challenging.
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