Main Points

  • The fastest growing segment of the U.S. population is over 85 years of age.
  • Elderly patients are more likely to have chronic medical conditions and to develop complications when they are in the hospital, such as when they get the flu.
  • As the nation’s population ages, Medicare resources will be needed to meet their emergency care needs.
  • Every year Congress averts the cuts to Medicare doctors, but the Medicare physician payment formula must be fixed, because it is based on a flawed formula (SGR) and does not reflect actual physician costs of providing medical care.
  • If Medicare is cut, then many doctors will not treat Medicare patients. These patients will seek care in the nation’s emergency departments. Sequestration may further reduce the number of physicians seeing new Medicare patients.

Medicare Fact Sheet

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