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Increases in Medicare

October 05, 1987

The Times states that Medicare is "a bargain--the best buy available in health insurance." That is true. One reason it is a bargain is that payments for services under this program have been limited by congressional action. The Times laments the "escalating costs of physicians' services," but fails to note that what physicians may charge are frozen. Actual payment by Medicare for many major procedures is significantly less than half of the usual charges for those procedures.

The public should be aware that their representatives are changing Medicare into a welfare program similar to Medicaid (Medi-Cal in California) by attempting to limit payments at unrealistically low levels and forcing the Medicare patient to go where those payments will be accepted.

STANFORD M. NOEL, M.D.

Los Angeles

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