The Medicare changes that went into place at the beginning of this year were designed to correct billions of dollars in over payments to doctors. While many doctor’s offices have cut back on services or decided to no longer take Medicare, it has not affected the pace of medical research. People over the age of 65 are the largest segment of the population in America, and research into health problems currently focuses on geriatric medicine. Medical breakthroughs will still occur in all fields of science.
The Medicare changes affected what doctors earn for patient reimbursement. They did not affect the research and development funding for drug companies. The overall healthcare law, which the house voted to repeal early in 2011, would be more likely to affect how drug companies spend money on Medical Research and where it takes place than changes to Medicare. With the largest segment of the population reaching into the 60s, geriatric medicine will be the focus of most drug and medical research. Other areas may lag behind slightly. Research into Alzheimer’s Disease, Parkinson’s Disease and other ailments that strike elderly patients will continue. Worrying that Medicare changes will affect new breakthroughs is simply fear mongering.
Despite the controversy over the law, the changes made to Medicare, with few exceptions, are largely positive and designed to improve the program. The remaining population may suffer from certain aspects of the law, including the individual mandate, but this provisions do not affect people already enrolled in the Medicare program. Additional Medicare changes were budget corrections to help the bloated program survive a much larger population of older Americans. Further changes may cause companies to cut back on research funding, but that will depend on what the changes congress makes.