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How Obama's budget will affect Medicare beneficiaries

This week, President Obama released a $3.8 trillion budget plan that would construct $360 billion in savings from Medicare, Medicaid and other healthcare programs over a span of 10 years. The cuts are familiar to most, yet some democrats oppose numbers included in the proposal.

The cuts include things such as paying hospitals less for bad debts, cuts when seniors miss co-payments and deductibles and cutting the cost of drugs for seniors enrolled in Medicaid.

We asked our social media followers how they felt Obama's agenda would affect the outcome of the healthcare industry, particularly the CMS list of items.

@morgancountian tweeted, "I don't believe Obama should remove $500 billion from Medicare to take care of the more socialist Medicaid."

User @ChrisVpilldoc85 was awed by the proposal. "Obama budget proposal is pretty good. Tax the rich, defense/Medicare/Medicaid cuts. Very impressive," he tweeted.

@leftjabradio agrees. "Obama's budget looks good to us," he tweeted. "More emphasis on jobs, increased taxes on the wealthy, and protection of social security and Medicare."

Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney launched a strike against the president's budget on Monday morning. "The president has failed to offer a single serious idea to save Social Security and is the only president in modern history to cut Medicare benefits for seniors," he stated. "I believe we can save Social Security and Medicare with a few common-sense reforms, and -- unlike President Obama -- I'm not afraid to put them on the table."

One reform Romney may be speaking of is overturning the Affordable Care Act. Twitter user @josh_zeitlin believes the Obama Administration is making a mistake by not proposing Medicare reform outside of the ACA. "If you make a solid proposal, [you will] gain the upper hand in the debate," he tweeted.

"GOP action, instead of talk, will energize Republicans and Independents to support those who oppose the Obama administration," voiced commenter @techwreck on a Wall Street Journal Blog. "More talk with no action will convince us that the GOP candidates have nothing of substance to offer."

A handful of Baby Boomers will be turning 65 this coming year and will be eligible for Medicare. Those who are qualified only account for a small portion of the proposed budget increase. According to federal officials, the hike stems from new health insurance exchanges.

"I can't believe Obama wants to cut Medicare even more," tweeted @sarahsmart88. "My mom needs a liver transplant and already can hardly get any care."

It's families like Sarah's that can't afford to be taken off the beneficiary. Obama proposes to raise Medicare premiums to the wealthy, start charging co-pays for home health services and penalize patients who buy Medigap policies to take care of Medicare co-payments.

Steve Leary, president of National Society of Certified Healthcare Business Consultants, says the plan will penalize hospitals with higher reduction in payments, versus other providers. "The plan would combine various rates of federal funding into a single percentage which will shift costs to the states, rather than controlling cost," he commented on the Healthcare Finance News LinkedIn Group. "The plan will increase premiums to both active and retried military."

The bottom line, Leary says, is that Obama will create a class warfare tax program and healthcare program. "This is a bitter pill for the Congress to deal with," he commented. "This bill will not save $360 billion that Obama claims in his budget just new taxes and shifting to the states to get the cost off his books."

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