Many Seniors Worry About The Future Of Medicare

Monday, December 13th 2010, 9:43 pm
By: News 9

Adrianna Iwasinski, News 9

OKLAHOMA CITY -- President Obama is expected to sign a bill that will extend Medicare reimbursements for doctors for another year. The decision stops cuts to Medicare reimbursements that were scheduled to go into effect January 1, but many seniors are now worried about a permanent fix.

The move prevents a scheduled 25 percent cut to Medicare reimbursements for doctors that would have gone into effect January 1, but many doctors are still considering not accepting Medicare patients altogether if Congress does not come up with a permanent solution.

Over at the Brand Senior Center in Moore, there's plenty of talk about money and politics during their morning pool games, and the seniors said they don't like it when Congress plays games with their benefits.

"I don't think they realize how much power we really hold so we may not hold all the money but we hold the votes," said Marvin Terrell, president of local AARP chapter.

Many of the seniors at the Brand Senior Center are on a fixed income and do what they can to save money. Some seniors are still digesting the fact that they will not be getting a cost of living increase on their social security checks for a second year in a row, and word that doctors may stop accepting Medicare benefits has come as another blow.

"And I think that's terrible. Why would they even start something like that? It's not fair to any of us that are on Medicare," said JoAnn Gentry, who is worried about doctors not accepting Medicare. "It would be very difficult for me financially."

Ruth Wanzer is turning 88 next week and said she and her friends don't want to be left without a doctor to go to.

"There are just so many doctors that are just so wonderful and want to help the seniors but if they cut this out it will be a disaster really," said Ruth Wanser, who is worried about doctors not accepting Medicare.

Dr. Al Moorad is a local Oklahoma City doctor lobbying Congress for permanent fix to Medicare reimbursements.

"We need a permanent fix for physicians we cannot keep playing games every year," Moorad said.

He said the medical system is overwhelmed right now and doctors are getting so dissatisfied with the Medicare system and may opt out altogether.

"If all physicians quit seeing Medicare, we are going to have the biggest medical crisis in this country

Congress now has 13 months to come up with another solution.