Local Medicare patients to be affected by cuts - NBC12 - WWBT - Richmond, VA News On Your Side

Local Medicare patients to be affected by cuts

By Melissa Correa - bio | email
Posted by Terry Alexander - email

CHESTERFIELD, VA (WWBT) – It's a waiting game no one wants to play. Right now local doctors are waiting to see if severe cuts to Medicare will take effect April first, or be postponed again.

"To have the name Mildred you must be over 50," said Mildred Aldridge. And like her nostalgic name, her doctor's participation in the Medicare program could soon be a thing of the past.

"At 73 you have contributed to Medicare and Social Security for 50 plus years.  And now you're told that you're greedy," said Mildred.

Just when Mildred Aldridge is taking advantage of what she worked for, news of 21% in Medicare cuts has stopped the senior dead in her tracks.

"I talk to people all the time and they either are not aware of what's going on or they don't believe that this could possibly be happening," she said.

The cuts were set to take effect in February but were postponed to March. President Obama signed an extension Tuesday. The cuts will now come April 1.

"It wouldn't affect the patient's interaction with physicians as long as he continues to participate in Medicare," said Dr. Stephen Young from Chesterfield County.

But right now Medicare participation and new patients are in danger of being cut.

"It's going to really cut into some physician's ability to continue to see the Medicare because they won't be able to afford to," Dr. Young said.

Rising costs for technology and insurance are draining physician's pockets. The federal government says it can't continue funding the majority of healthcare costs for disabled Americans or senior citizens like Mildred.

In all her years, Mildred says she never thought she'd see the day when she'd be pushed to the side, left to fend for herself.

"It's not the American way," Mildred said.

Copyright 2010 WWBT NBC12. All rights reserved.

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