Q. I have a friend who is due to have a knee replacement soon. Her doctor told her it is good she is doing it now because she is over 70. “Obamacare" won’t pay for surgery for people after 70. Is this true?
A. It’s not true.
“There is no provision in the health care law that makes changes in Medicare benefits based on age," says Juliette Cubanski, associate director of the Medicare Policy Program at the Kaiser Family Foundation. (Kaiser Health News is an editorially independent program of the foundation.)
There has been a great deal of discussion about whether the Affordable Care Act will result in rationing of seniors’ care. Much of this has centered on the Independent Payment Advisory Board, which was authorized to help control the growth in Medicare costs. Starting in 2014, the IPAB will make recommendations to lower costs if Medicare spending exceeds established targets. Proposed changes must be considered by Congress and implemented by the administration within designated timeframes.
The IPAB is prohibited from rationing care, from making decisions about what benefits will or won’t be covered, and from increasing beneficiaries’ premiums or cost sharing, Cubanski says. It could recommend reducing payments to certain providers and service suppliers, however.
— Michelle Andrews, Special to The Washington Post