As Medicare Costs Rise, Reimbursements Drop

John C. Nordt, MD; Michael P. Connair, MD; Jamie A. Gregorian, Esq.

In 1990, Medicare expenditures totaled $111 billion. That number has more than quintupled today. But even as Medicare costs have skyrocketed, the individual payments to physicians for services rendered have plummeted—particularly for surgical procedures.

Recently, the American Association of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS) conducted a retrospective analysis of the inflation-adjusted trends in Medicare reimbursements for orthopaedic surgeons. It will likely come as no surprise to AAOS members that the real dollar rate of reimbursement has suffered a precipitous drop.

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