Seniors say ‘no’ to government involvement in healthcare decisions

While there's no denying that a variety of government services have made life easier for Americans, there's one area that seniors would like the government to have less involvement in: health care, a newly released survey suggests.

Based on a poll of 2,000 registered voters all over the age of 65, nearly 85 percent of respondents said that doctors ought to be able to prescribe treatments and medications to their patients without government involvement, reported grassroots public policy initiative Bring the Vote Home. Additionally, when asked about government contractors and what role they would play in the health care process, 80 percent said that they thought these contractors would make the Medicare program run less efficiently. In fact, over three-quarters – 77 percent – said they believed government contractors would make Medicare more expensive, and roughly the same percentage thought services not provided by the entitlement program would also increase.

Colin Roskey, who serves as executive vice president of the Partnership for Quality Home Healthcare, noted that based on several surveys, seniors are overwhelmingly of like mind, in that they'd prefer the government not be more involved in health care than it is already.

"For the third month in a row, BTVH polling results reveal that when becoming educated on the topic of government approval of home health services, senior voters oppose policies that allow the government to interfere with physician decision-making," Roskey explained.

He added that he's hopeful the Centers for Medicaid & Medicaid Services will listen to the will of the people and allow seniors and their primary care physicians to be at the helm of their health care decisions.

"The medical device tax was suspended for two years."

Medical device tax suspended after withering criticism
With the implementation of the Affordable Care Act, which was signed into law in 2010 but officially went into effect a few years later, the government has become more involved in health care in a bid to enable more people to obtain health insurance. One of the health care law's numerous provisions pertained to the so-called medical device tax, which charges manufacturers that produce health care equipment an excise tax on the profits they make when instruments are sold to hospitals. However, after several lawmakers reacted negatively to the planned tax, arguing that it could raise the cost of health care and adversely affect the economy, the proposal has since been tabled for two years.

In a sign that the health care industry is strongly in favor of delaying the medical device tax, over 60 percent of medical imaging companies in a recent poll said that they would likely increase the size of their workforce as a result of the money saved, the Medical Imaging & Technology Alliance found. Furthermore, 77 percent said they'd probably use the savings to invest in research and development.

"These survey findings confirm that suspension of the medical device tax has already helped boost investment in R&D and ignite medical technology innovation in just a few months," noted Nelson Mendes, MITA chairman, according to MassDevice.com. "Full repeal of this burdensome tax will turn yesterday's economic headwinds into tomorrow's tailwinds, spurring sustained growth and protecting patient care."

The medical device tax introduced by the Affordable Care Act aimed to charge manufacturers on their profitsThe medical device tax introduced by the Affordable Care Act aimed to charge manufacturers on their profits.

Association hopes to do away with medical device tax
The Medical Device Manufacturers Association (MDMA) was also highly in favor of suspending the medical device tax, which went into effect earlier this year. In a statement in January, MDMA President and CEO Mark Leahey championed the decision, confirming that consumers will be the ultimate beneficiaries because patient care will be improved.

"We look forward to working with the broad bipartisan support in Congress to make sure that the last medical device tax payment has been made, and that med tech innovators are empowered to solve the pressing challenges facing our healthcare ecosystem," Leahey said.

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