Medicare has proved itself to be an effective way to provide high-quality, affordable health care to seniors. The program is popular with both enrollees and the providers who care for them. Part of Medicare’s success is due to its focus on primary care.
By investing in primary care, Medicare has kept enrollees healthy and out of the hospital. This has not only saved money but also improved the quality of life for enrollees. It has also helped primary care doctors and other medical professionals stay in business.
Expanding Medicare’s primary care investment would build on this success. It helps ensure seniors have access to the high-quality, affordable health care they need. This blog examines six reasons why expanding Medicare’s primary care investment is important. But first, let’s understand what primary care and Medicare are.
What Is Primary Care?
Primary care is the first point of contact between patients and the health care system. It includes a wide range of services, from preventive care to treatment of chronic conditions. It is provided by various healthcare professionals. This includes primary care doctors, internists, pediatricians, general practitioners, and family physicians.
What Is Medicare?
Medicare is a health insurance program for people aged 65 and above and people with disabilities. It is administered by the federal government. Medicare is made up of four parts:
- Part A, which covers hospitalization;
- Part B, which covers outpatient care;
- Part C, which is known as Medicare Advantage and covers both hospitalization and outpatient care; and
- Part D, which covers prescription drugs.
Medicare pays for a wide range of services, including primary care. In fact, Medicare covers 80% of the cost of primary care visits.
However, there is a growing concern that Medicare’s primary care investment is not adequate to meet the needs of the program’s enrollees. This is especially true as the population of Medicare enrollees continues to grow. At the same time, the number of people with chronic conditions increases.
There are several reasons why expanding Medicare’s primary care investment is important. Let’s take a look.
Medicare Would Save Money
Besides improving seniors’ health, expanding Medicare’s primary care investment would also save money. This is because investing in primary care can help to prevent more serious and costly health problems down the road.
For example, Health Affairs conducted a study about this. They found that, on average, individuals with Medicare advantage save more than $1,500 each year on hospital and skilled nursing facility costs.
Expanding Medicare’s primary care investment would allow the program to avoid even more costly health problems. This results in savings for both Medicare and its enrollees. This is especially important as the baby boomer generation begins to enter the elderly stage. Thus, the number of Medicare enrollees is expected to increase.
If you need more information on how Medicare would help you save on healthcare costs, please visit a Medicare doctor who can help. If you are unaware of the nearest Medicare doctor, please search for ‘Medicare doctors near me‘ to find one in your area. You can read reviews and would also be able to book an appointment with the doctor through the website.
Healthcare Services Will Benefit
The most obvious reason to expand Medicare’s primary care investment is that doing so would improve access to healthcare services for seniors. According to a report published on the National Library of Medicine’s website, 8% of adults aged 60 and older did not have a usual source of care. This lack of access to a usual source can lead to serious health problems. People without a usual source of care are less likely to receive preventive care. This includes vaccinations and screenings for cancer and other diseases.
By expanding Medicare’s investment in primary care, more seniors would have a usual source of care. Thus, they would be able to get the preventive care they need. This would improve their overall health and quality of life. It would also reduce costs by preventing more serious health problems.
More Doctors Would Be Available to Treat Seniors
Another reason to expand Medicare’s primary care investment is that doing so would increase the number of doctors available to treat seniors. This is important because the number of seniors is increasing. But at the same time, the number of primary care doctors is not.
According to the Association of American Medical Colleges, the United States will face a shortage of nearly 124,000 physicians by 2034. This shortage will be especially acute in primary care. The number of seniors needing primary care services is expected to increase by more than 20 million by 2035.
By expanding Medicare’s investment in primary care, more doctors would enter the field. Thus, seniors would have better access to the care they need.
Quality of Care Would Improve
Expanding Medicare’s primary care investment would also improve seniors’ quality of care. This is because primary care doctors are vital in coordinating care for patients with multiple chronic conditions.
According to a study, patients who see a primary care doctor as their usual source of care are more likely to receive recommended care for:
- High blood pressure.
- High cholesterol.
They are also less likely to be readmitted to the hospital after a stay. Expanding Medicare’s primary care investment would improve the quality of care seniors receive by improving care coordination.
Patients Would Have Better Health Outcomes
Improved quality of care would lead to better health outcomes for seniors. This is because primary care can help prevent and manage chronic conditions. They help catch health problems early when they are easier to treat.
For example, a study found that patients with diabetes who received intensive primary care had lower rates of complications like the following:
- Kidney disease.
- Heart attacks.
Another study about patients with high blood pressure supports this claim. Patients who received primary care from a team of doctors and nurses had better blood pressure control than those who saw only a primary care doctor.
These studies show that expanding Medicare’s primary care investment would improve seniors’ health outcomes.
In conclusion, expanding Medicare’s investment in primary care would be a smart move for the program and the country. Doing so would result in more doctors being available to treat seniors, improved quality of care, and better health outcomes. Let’s hope that our leaders prioritize this in the years to come.