www.baltimoresun.com/news/opinion/readersrespond/bs-ed-medicare-letter-20120403,0,4846247.story

baltimoresun.com

Got a better plan for reducing Medicare costs?

3:00 PM EDT, April 4, 2012

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In their recent op-ed ("The wrong fix for Medicare," April 3), Doctors Gary Pushkin and Anuradha Reddy, past presidents of the Baltimore County and Baltimore City medical societies, respectively, advocate abolishing, with no alternative proposal, the Independent Payment Advisory Board (IPAB) established to control Medicare costs by the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA). Naturally, on behalf of themselves and the colleagues they represented, they wish to keep doctors' fees high, as members of any trade union would.

They assert that Medicare is in desperate need of reform with costs out of control, but they give no hint what that reform should consist of, other than opposing the reform passed by our elected Congress, including the Maryland Democratic delegation, strong and proven friends of Maryland medicine. They acknowledge, without explanation or justification, that Maryland Medicare average annual costs are $1,000 (10 percent) per enrollee higher than average. A tour of the various brand new, hotel-like, heavily-advertised Baltimore area hospitals may give a clue.

Their primary argument is that large and increasing numbers of their colleagues are on strike against Medicare, turning away our senior citizens. They do not mention that many doctors also boycott some private insurance systems including Johns Hopkins Employee Health Plan. This is an argument for a single payer system, Medicare for all, so they will not be able to discriminate by ability to pay the highest fees.

James Kelly, Ellicott City