Five Ways The President's Budget Would Change Medicare

President Barack Obama's fiscal 2014 budget includes a variety of what he says are "manageable" changes for Medicare's 54 million beneficiaries as well as for the hospitals, nursing homes and other health care providers that serve them.

That assessment has drawn concern from some patient and provider groups that, although recognizing the need to address the nation's rising health care costs, say seniors shouldn't bear the brunt of efforts to reduce entitlement spending.

"Instead of making harmful cuts to Medicare or shifting additional costs onto beneficiaries, we need to look for savings throughout the health care system, including Medicare," said AARP Executive Vice President Nancy A. LeaMond.

Obama's budget proposal, which would reduce the growth in Medicare spending by $371 billion over the next decade, asks wealthier beneficiaries to pay more for coverage and future retirees to pay higher copays for outpatient services such as doctor's visits and home health care. But the gap in Medicare's prescription drug coverage where beneficiaries cover all the costs -- known as the "doughnut hole" — would close by 2015, five years faster than current law mandates.

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Source: Kaiser Health News