Medicare plans outrage elderly people and doctors

BMJ 1995; 311 doi: (Published 14 October 1995) Cite this as: BMJ 1995;311:967

Groups of doctors and elderly people last week began to line up against major changes in the Medicare programme--the way that the US government pays for care for elderly people. After less than two months of Congressional hearings the Republicans, who have the majority, have begun planning to overhaul Medicare.

Republicans want to rein in the programme because of fears that the US budget will not be balanced unless the government medical insurance plan is held in check. Medicare covers most of the medical costs for 37 million elderly and disabled Americans at a cost of $168 billion (pounds sterling112000 million) last year. The programme is expected to cost the government almost $1.95 trillion (pounds sterling1.3 billion) over the next seven years.

Republicans in the lower House of Representatives want …

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