A California doctor gets $24 to spend a half hour with a Medicaid patient, less than it costs to keep the lights on in his office. His plumber gets ten times as much to fix a plugged drain in 45 minutes. Medicaid and Medicare are in trouble, and everybody's known it for years. Medicare, which poses the biggest and most immediate challenge, already accounts for 23% of all federal spending, and medical costs are expected to double in the next 10 years. Starting this year, the hospital insurance trust fund will pay out more in benefits than it gets in revenues. But the principal fix for rising medical costs has been cutting fees for doctors and other providers. More and more doctors are refusing those patients, and the next president will be required by law to do something about it. Are the candidates coming up with solutions?
Marilyn Moon, former independent board member, Medicare and Social Security
Ted Mazer, Trustee, California Medical Association
John C. Goodman, President, National Center for Policy Analysis
David Cutler, Professor of Economics, Harvard University