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  • The Public Plan Threat to Your Health Care

    A new study released today by the Lewin Group, one of the most well-respected health care consultancies in Washington, gives new estimates on “The Cost and Coverage Impacts of a Public Plan” like the one being considered by President Obama and the congressional leadership. The Lewin Group says that “If the public plan is opened to all employers…at Medicare payment levels we estimate that about 131.2 million people would enroll in the public plan. The number of people with private health insurance would decline by 119.1 million people. This would be a two-thirds reduction in the number of people with private coverage (currently 170 million people).”

    The study also examined what the proposed plan might do to provider reimbursement rates. Lewin says that if current Medicare payment rates were to be used for a public plan option, physicians would see their net income drop by $33 billion dollars, and hospitals would see their revenue fall by $36 billion.

    Last Wednesday, the New York Times published a story reporting that Doctors Are Opting Out of Medicare, in part because of low reimbursement rates:

    Many people, just as they become eligible for Medicare, discover that the insurance rug has been pulled out from under them. Some doctors — often internists but also gastroenterologists, gynecologists, psychiatrists and other specialists — are no longer accepting Medicare, either because they have opted out of the insurance system or they are not accepting new patients with Medicare coverage. The doctors’ reasons: reimbursement rates are too low and paperwork too much of a hassle.

    The piece ended up being ranked as high as third on the list of “most-emailed” stories on the New York Times’ Web site. If the soon-to-be-retired are concerned that their doctors will not accept Medicare, the entire nation should be cautious about the impact of a new public plan based on a Medicare model. If two-thirds of those currently covered under private insurance were to instead be insured under a new public plan, we would find ourselves well on our way toward a single-payer system, which, as Heritage fellow Robert Book recently warned, would have devastating effects on access to, and quality of, care:

    The establishment of a “single payer” health care system would inevitably result in lower payments for physician and other health care providers. The immediate effect of having a single (”stingy”) payer would be lower incomes for physicians and a reduction in the supply of active physicians, thereby impairing access to health care for all patients. However, the result of “single/stingy payer” health care will not only be lower incomes for physicians now but reduced access and lower quality health care for future generations as well.

    Posted in Obamacare [slideshow_deploy]

    12 Responses to The Public Plan Threat to Your Health Care

    1. Pingback: The American Spectator : AmSpecBlog : Study Forecasts Potential Shift of 131 Mln to Government-Run Health Care

    2. Engineer, Mississipp says:

      Health care today is one of the major issues that impact Americans of all walks of life. While quality of care is not the major issue in the Unites States, coverage of Americans certainly is, having declined from approximately 70% in the 1950s to less than 30% today. Rising costs are one of, if not the primary reason, for the decrease in coverage.

      No one would suggest that nothing should be done; however, the problem should not be made even worse by adopting single payer health care programs like Canada, France, or England. In those countries quality has gone down (as evidenced by those people trying to come America for treatment) and there is no guarantee very single person will have their needs met (they have health care rationing) and income taxes have been raised to 70 percent to pay for coverage.

      In the United States most of the time it takes forever to get the care you need and then the doctor is not allowed to manage the patient without being questioned at every move about costs or procedures from non professionals. We should keep in mind that if the doctor misses something it is the doctor who gets sued not the insurance companies.

      I would submit that most of the rising costs are for tests that the doctor has to perform to cover himself from a malpractice lawsuit and the use of emergency rooms for minor medical problems which currently is a huge cost burden.

      Taking my opening statement and in the 1950s if you went to the doctor with a headache, more than likely he would give you some aspirin and send you home. Today, he would order an MRI at a cost of $1,000 to protect himself on the outside chance (1%) that the patient may have a brain tumor.

      Tort reform, removing burdensome physician oversight which is nothing more than overhead and ensuring competition will make for a stronger health care system.

    3. Aaron M. Roland, M.D says:

      Obama's plan, which would add millions to the rolls of the insured, perhaps with the addition of an option for a "buy-in" into Medicare, suffers primarily in its failure to deal with the tremendous administrative waste created by our balkanized system, dominated by private insurance companies who spend billions of premium dollars on marketing, advertising, underwriting, product development,and other private bureaucracy. Obama's plan assumes the continued survival of this industry which measures its success not in the health of the insured but in the percentage of premium dollars maintained as profits.

      A true single payer system– sadly, not what Obama has proposed– would sharply reduce administrative waste. Although taxes would go up (the system would be paid for centrally), other costs would go down dramatically, including the elimination of costs of private health insurance, the costs of maintaining a "safety net", the huge costs spent by private providers to interact with a vastly complex network of private payers, and even the costs of malpractice insurance (There would no longer be any need to sue to secure funds needed for the costs of untoward medical outcomes.)

    4. JohnR, Washington, D says:

      I think the Heritage Foundation is making a big tactical mistake in not making the Obamam Health Care Initiative its Priority #1.

      I had to move down several different items on subjects as various as energy and foreign affairs before reaching this one. When you try a shotgun approach to dealing with the Obama social revolution, you will lose. If you want to have an impact, then please focus on the one issue that will turn this country inside out—mandatory federal health care. Keep pounding away at it, and make other issues subordinate to it. That is, if you want to make an impact and stop this freight train.

      The other issues are not cataclysmic. This one is.

    5. jim says:

      What a biased report, Lewin Group is FULLY OWNED by UnitedHealth Group.

    6. Pingback: Health Care. (united health care, universal health care) » Blog Archive » Who Is Warning Us About the Perils of a Government-Run Public Health Insurance Plan?

    7. Barb -mn says:

      It doesn't matter where the truth comes from, as long as it's told.

    8. Pingback: Millions Will Lose Health Care from their Employer Under the Democrats’ Plan « Wintery Knight Blog

    9. Pingback: The “Public” insurance plan’s huge market share | Independence Institute: Patient Power

    10. Pingback: The Conservative Reform Network Blog » Blog Archive » Are We Losing Primary Health Care Providers

    11. Jason MD says:

      Anyone interested in this topic or many of the other social engineering "plans" and solutions the Obama administration is proposing should be fully informed. I recomend three books that will give a clearer understanding of the world view of these people. 1) Life at the Bottom by Theodoore Dalrymple 2) The Vision of the Annointed by Thomas Sowell and 3) The Road to Serfdom by F A Hayek. There is no question that Obama and his team have the best intentions and sincerely want to solve the short commings in our society. But they are dangerously naive and their trade offs will cause an increase in human suffering and lower standards of living on average. Let's not forget that Medicare is insolvent and will have to paid for through higher taxes or money printing, both of which will lower our standards of living. Why would any sane person follow an example like that and propose to expand it? Scarcity of resources is a fact of life on this earth. This includes doctors, medicines, hospitals and clinics. A proposed improvement could be for the government to rescind employer mandates to provide health coverage for workers, to rescind Medicare and Medicaid, and get out of the Heath Care planning business. People could then buy their own health Insurance. Competition would create lower costs with higher quality the way has happened in any other industry. We buy our own home owners insurance, car insurance and we shop around for the best deal. We use these judiciously as we would our healthcare. The proposal is not a solution but a trade off. There would still be human suffering and as long as we are mortal, there always will be.

    12. Pingback: Who Is Warning Us About the Perils of a Government-Run Public Health Insurance Plan? · All The Info You Need

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