Medicare costs up to $2.3 billion for doctors’ surgeries, new study finds
Posted On July 6, 2021
A recent study by the nonprofit group Doctors Without Borders says the average Medicare prescription for a hospital stay could top $2,400 if the program were expanded.
The study by Physicians for a National Health Program and the nonprofit Hospital Association found that Medicare spending for emergency room visits jumped from $2 billion in fiscal year 2014 to $3.6 billion in the first quarter of this year.
That compares with $2 trillion for Medicare in the same period last year.
Dr. Anthony Fauci, an associate professor at Harvard Medical School, said the average cost of an emergency room visit for Medicare beneficiaries was $3,100 in 2014.
That was down from $3 million in the second quarter of that year, he said.
The increase in spending for hospitalizations, in particular, came despite a slowdown in the number of new infections, he added.
The number of hospitalizations rose in the third quarter but remained unchanged during the fourth quarter.
The report said Medicare spending on emergency room admissions is up from $1.9 billion in 2014 to about $2 million in 2017.
“The trend of rising hospital spending reflects a decline in the percentage of Americans receiving health insurance coverage,” Dr. Faucs said.
“In some cases, it has been driven by patients’ reluctance to seek care for their health problems.
If Medicare expands, that trend will be reversed.
Medicare’s spending will be higher, and many patients will receive a much larger sum of money.”
A spokeswoman for the Medicare Payment and Administration Service said in a statement that the agency is committed to supporting the delivery of care for our beneficiaries and will continue to work to ensure the programs delivery system is optimized for the future.
“The Associated Press contributed to this report.