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  • Morning Bell: Exposing the Obamacare Shell Game

    In his primetime health care address before a Joint Session of Congress, President Barack Obama promised the American people: “I will not sign a plan that adds one dime to our deficits – either now or in the future. Period.” But it is hard work adding $1 trillion in government spending while claiming with a straight face that you are not adding to the deficit. Enter White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel who has just the solution: just strip out $247 billion of the spending in the bill, pass it separately, and voila … your job just got one-fourth easier.

    The specific issue at hand is the centrally planned price control regime the federal government uses to reimburse doctor’s who participate in Medicare. Medicare reimburses doctors and other medical professionals for their services according to a congressionally created fee schedule that is annually adjusted by the Sustainable Growth Rate (SGR) formula. The idea is relatively simple: If Medicare spending grows faster than our overall economy (which is almost always the case), then payments to Medicare providers are supposed to be reduced proportionately to keep expenditures in line over a period of time.

    Problem is every year Congress–under both Democratic and Republican leadership–routinely blocks the cuts from going into effect. Subsequently, the necessary cumulative cut in Medicare payments grows bigger. Without a change to current law, payments to physicians would be reduced by 21.5% as of January 1, 2010. The Senate Finance Committee bill addresses this problem by raising the reimbursement rate for one year and then pretending that Congress will allow massive cuts for the next 9 years. House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-MD) rightfully called the Senate Finance Committee proposal a façade.

    The Obama administration’s proposed solution, however, is no more honest. Instead of pretending Congress will cut doctor’s Medicare reimbursement rates, the Senate wants to pretend the doc fix isn’t part of health care reform. So Majority Leader Harry Reid’s (D-NV) dissembled Friday: “Correcting the Medicare doctors’ payment discrepancy is a budgetary problem — health insurance reform tackles a serious regulatory problem. That’s why we need to fix the Medicare doctors’ payments first, outside of health reform.” The Washington Post editorial board responded this morning:

    Mr. Reid’s attempt to distinguish the budgetary and regulatory issues is nonsensical. The health reform measure includes all sorts of changes in the ways that various providers are compensated. True, the problem with inadequate Medicare payments is something of a preexisting condition to health reform, but that does not make it unrelated. The so-called doc fix is being rushed to the Senate floor this week in advance of health reform not because it has nothing to do with health reform but because it has everything to do with it.

    A president who says that he is serious about dealing with the dire fiscal picture cannot credibly begin by charging this one to the national credit card, with no concern for the later generations who will have to pay the bill.

    And it is the later generations that should be particularly concerned with this shell game. That $247 billion price tag is just the ten year cost of the doc fix. Looking over the long-term, the 75-year cost to our national debt is another $3 trillion. This past Friday the Obama administration admitted that the federal budget deficit for the fiscal year that just ended was $1.4 trillion, nearly a trillion dollars greater than the year before and the largest shortfall relative to the size of the economy since 1945. Just like Obamacare’s massive expansion of the Medicaid rolls, the doc fix shell game exposes the fact that Obamacare is just a continuation of the current budget busting health care system, not real reform.

    Quick Hits:

    Posted in Ongoing Priorities [slideshow_deploy]

    48 Responses to Morning Bell: Exposing the Obamacare Shell Game

    1. Rich Schuch says:

      “I will not sign a plan that adds one dime to our deficits – either now or in the future. Period.”

      In plain, honest english this means," I will tax you to death".

      That's the only way they can keep 'true' to their word.

    2. Jamie Krause, Olympi says:

      Many doctors have not been accepting Medicare patients for a number of years. This kind of "reform" will only compound the problem. This is nuts having such zealots in positions of power. When will the real America regain its voice? It's clear we're being ignored. Harry Reid speaks of the nuclear option on o-care. I am ready for my own nuclear option come the elections of 2010. Vote the rascals out! It will be worth the effort.

    3. Dave Speicher, Young says:

      When does it stop? How do we stop them (Congress)? Will the elections of 2010 & 2012 be too late to save our country?

      This scares the hell out of me and it appears there is nothing We The People can do to stop the insanity. No matter what we say, no matter the crowds at townhalls, no matter the exposure on FOX News. Our Congressman and Senators just smile arrogantly, spit out some double-talk, and carry on doing what THEY want!

      Seriously, someone tell me what I can do to help, and I'm there! I have the time – thanks to current situations I haven't got a job to interrupt me for 9 hours a day! And I am fed up with sitting by and watching my country disappear.

      God Bless America!

      Dave Speicher

    4. Arnie Rosner, Founta says:

      When congress cancels their special current healthcare plan, and personally enrolls themselves and their family, in the same healthcare system they are engineering for the rest of us then I will take their effort seriously.

      Any efforts to accomplish less should be met with stiff opposition from the voter along with the guarantee they will be voted out of office.

      So far I see the further attempts to bamboozle the American taxpayer with smoke and mirrors as a blatant attempt to disguise the real objective of The current usurper masquerading as a sitting US President; that is to use healthcare, due to the braod appeal of the issue as an excuse to grab power and control a large segment of the economy.

    5. Ed Small...Evansvill says:

      Friends: Is there ANY WAY to STOP the A.C.L.U.on their way to get Religion out of our Military? Now they are wanting to remove all crosses in Military Cemetaries thruout the world. They are have stopped our Chaplains from mentioning Jesus by name, PLUS a host of other suits to remove religion from the Military. Can you, the Heretage Foundation help us to STOP THE A.C.L.U. ? Please let me know. Thank you, Ed Small

    6. Mary N. Lodi, WI says:

      What's to say. Garbage in, garbage out……and I mean these socialistic politicians need to be voted OUT! Seems to be our only recourse unless this administration takes that right away from the American people….they (socialists) seem to be taking everything else.

      I'm feeling like Americans are becomming wary to all the games this administration is pulling….it truly is a shell game….So very sad.

    7. Lloyd Scallan - New says:

      This entier Obama experience is "one big shell game". It is made possible by the left-wing

      national news media. In an article that appeared on the WorldNetDaily blog on the Oct. 18th, Anita Dunn (the lastest socialist lackey in the spot light), is quoted stating how the Obama campaign controlled the media by directing them in the direction they wanted them to go, and at the same time hide what they did not want the voters to know. Everyone should read this article (or view the video) because it speaks to what extent Obama, and his puppets, are lying and the degreee of dishonesty and deception presented to the voters, by manipulating coverage during the campaign that continues today.

    8. Richard Cancemi, Arl says:

      From the beginning of the Presidential Campaign until the present, we have had nothing but lies and more lies told to us.

      The President and the Liberal Congresspeople are nothing less that Socialist Sociopaths. They show no evidence of morality or conscience in anything they say or do or plan.

    9. Salvatore J. Tuccio says:

      I think the Obama People should read the Book HOw to Win Friends and Influence People. Making everyone the demond who disagree with his postion the devil, is clearly not working. So clearly he should do what he said he was going to do in the campaing, and that is being open and transparent.

      Every time I hear him speak I hear lies, and that is because of his behavior. When you say one thing and do the other, then that makes you a liar.

      We need another march on Washington, DC but much larger, and I believe it can be done. We should surround Congress and the WhiteHouse, and that should occur during the week if possible.

      Thanks,

      Salvatore J. Tuccio

    10. rtwagaman, keswick, says:

      Our current health care is failing! I look to Heritage Foundation to help provide answers, not to trash change. Where is your positive input to a failing system?

    11. Proud citizen says:

      We are already in so much debt to other countries. A million here a million there! Who will pay the taxes to pay for this health care when our industries and small businesses go over seas to avoid our taxes? We need jobs in the USA and "Fair tax"

      and screening for immigrants!

      May God Bless America!

    12. Ken Jarvis - Las Veg says:

      Didn't they run the SAME BS on Friday?

    13. Randall Doc Fleck, F says:

      Your newsletter is always so negative…

      Public option health care looks like its going to be a go. Get with it. This is good for the people and good for the nation.

    14. Lloyd Scallan - New says:

      rtwagamen, keswick, the answer to your question has been presented time after time by the Rebublicans, but because of the liberal media and the Democrat majory in both houses, none of the Republican idea are allow to be presented to the public. You want answers, don't ask Heritage,

      ask your Democrat in Congress. Why don't they allow any other answer to see the light of day? Because it's about "POWER" to control our lives,

      not about health care!

    15. Ben C, Ann Arbor says:

      Good news for Ken Jarvis!! He can get a FREE golf cart to zoom around Las Vegas thanks to Congress and their infinite wisdom. Read the WSJ piece of the golf cart fiasco and get one today before Congress gets back from the driving range. And these yahoos want to manage our health care?

    16. Joan Sarasota FL. says:

      This is what the dumbing down of America has given us. Billons spent on education and what have we gotten for it? Dumb people who when asked "where do you think the money you are being given comes from" answer Obama, "He give it to me. We have hundreds of TV channels about 4 have anything worth watching. The movies out now are mostly pure bilge.

      We have no real honest HERO's anymore. The real people who pay the bills,raise their famlies try to do the right thing are left holding the bag for all the neferious people we have as our counterfeit leaders.

    17. Freedom of Speech TX says:

      By the time Comrade Obama and the liberals get done, the money Bernie Madhoff "acquired" is going to be chump change.

    18. mike hutchings texas says:

      evil has little teeth and has got big teeth;

      you can take your pick if it makes it easier;

      did i forget to mention they are all in one mouth;

      start over and deregulate the insurance industry across state lines;

      and while your at it you better hurry the prime minister has informed us there is only fifty days left or the world ends.

      if thats the case lets stop this nonsense pull the deck chairs out and watch the world end as free people and have a BBQ with more meat than you can imagine.

    19. Bob Veigel, Arlingto says:

      This person (Obama) is a certified compulsive liar. He hates truth. He hates America. He hates all except his evil self. Why would you expect any decent behavior from a such a deranged deviate? Wake up Americans. You are about to lose the Nation you love and become another 3rd world country. Free no longer and a slave to the State.

    20. Pingback: Monday, Ocotber 19th, 2009 «

    21. Richard Cancemi, Arl says:

      Randall Doc, Can you explain how and why Public health Care will be good for the people and the nation?

    22. John, Arizona says:

      Randall Doc Fleck! You probably believe that medicare, medicaid, the postal service, amtrak et.al. are government run programs that are successful on their own, don't cost the taxpayer more than originally planned, and are examples of how a government run health care program will be successful.

      Why can't you and the rest of the left wing loons understand that more government is not the answer – it is the problem!

    23. Richard Cancemi, Arl says:

      HOW MUCH OBAMACARE COSTS THE AVERAGE FAMILY

      By DICK MORRIS & EILEEN MCGANN

      Published on DickMorris.com on October 19, 2009

      Whether or not you now have health insurance, Obama's healthcare bill will cost you dearly. If you don't have insurance, you will be required to buy it. The legislation specifies how much you will have to pay for the coverage before any subsidy kicks in. All during the campaign, Obama kept speaking about affordable coverage. Now it appears that his definition of "affordable" might be a bit elastic.

      * If your household income is $66,000 a year, slightly above the national average, Obama's healthcare bill will require you to spend 12 percent of your income — about $8,000 a year or almost $700 a month — to buy health insurance before you get any federal subsidy.

      * Even those making less will have to reach deep into their meager resources to satisfy Obama's statutory requirement. Families scraping by on only $44,000 a year will have to pay 7 percent of their income (about $3,000) on insurance.

      * Even those making just $33,000 will have to ante up 4.5 percent of their income (about $1500) for health insurance.

      * The required payments reach so far down the scale that those who are living at the federal poverty level of $22,000 will have to shell out 2 percent of their totally inadequate incomes ($440) for insurance. That Obama is charging premiums to those living at or on the border of poverty is absolutely incredible! And this from a candidate who pledged that he would not tax the middle class! If you have insurance, you will get hit by his proposed 40 percent tax on insurance premiums.

      * When the tax — and the legislation — takes effect in 2013, all families making about $120,000 or more in combined household income (14 percent of all families or one in seven) will have to pay the tax.

      * By the next year, 2014, the tax will hit every family making more than $100,000 (about 18 percent of all families or one in six)

      * By 2019, 10 years hence, the tax will reach down to effect every family making more than $75,000 a year (31 percent of families or one in three).

      The tax will take 40 percent of all premiums above $21,000.

      So if you don't have insurance, you will be socked with a mandate to buy coverage and pay a hefty proportion of your income to do it and if you have insurance, you will be hit with an excise tax on the coverage.

      (In theory, it is the insurance companies that have to pay the tax, but the Senate Finance Committee "assumes" that they will pass the tax along to their policyholders.)

    24. Pingback: Morning Bell: Exposing the Obamacare Shell Game «

    25. Wallyblu, Zion, IL says:

      All you voters who are upset with what's going on must know that there is only one way to fix things, that is to vote everyone out who votes for or favors these socialist programs.

      Now that that is said, you must realize that means your own Senator and Representative.

      All candidates running in the primarys who voted for Amnesty, Cap and Trade or Obamacare must be defeated. If they do get nominated they must be defeated in the General Election.

    26. Randall Doc Fleck, F says:

      To Ed:

      "Ed Small…Evansville, Indiana writes:

      Friends: Is there ANY WAY to STOP the A.C.L.U.on their way to get Religion out of our Military? Now they are wanting to remove all crosses in Military Cemetaries thruout the world. They are have stopped our Chaplains from mentioning Jesus by name, PLUS a host of other suits to remove religion from the Military. Can you, the Heretage Foundation help us to STOP THE A.C.L.U. ? Please let me know. Thank you, Ed Small"

      This is all false, Ed… Do your homework.

    27. Randall Doc Fleck, F says:

      "Richard Cancemi, Arlington, Tx writes:

      Randall Doc, Can you explain how and why Public health Care will be good for the people and the nation?"

      I'll be happy to. Why is a healthy citizenry better than an unhealthy one? Hmmm…? Gosh, because they are able to contribute something to society and the nation other than passing on more disease… How's that explanation? Do you get it now?

    28. Randall Doc Fleck, F says:

      "John, Arizona writes:

      Randall Doc Fleck! You probably believe that medicare, medicaid, the postal service, amtrak et.al. are government run programs that are successful on their own, don’t cost the taxpayer more than originally planned, and are examples of how a government run health care program will be successful.

      Why can’t you and the rest of the left wing loons understand that more government is not the answer – it is the problem!"

      You've left out the Veterans Administration, John. That's one good reason to trust a government run program, isn't it? The VA has delivered high quality heath care successfully since the civil war… and it hasn't destroyed the country.

    29. ken in SB says:

      Ed Small,

      Please…………..

      It's untrue. No such lawsuit is filed or pending by the ACLU. Did you read that on the Heritage Foundation? It sounds like a right wing conspiracy. Before you continue on with that rumor check with someone you really trust or factcheck.org

      http://www.factcheck.org/2009/07/aclu-and-cemetar

      or that other sight referred to as snopes. At any rate stop with that one!

    30. Richard Cancemi, Arl says:

      Randall Doc Fleck.

      Your reasoning shows no reasoning , only sloganeering. FYI the VA does not represent high quality. I am eligible and refuse to use it.

      Your "explanation" of why Gov't Health care will be "good" also lacks REASONS.

      Re the ACLU I suggest you do YOUR homework.

      Gullible people swallow anything tossed their way.

      I respect your right to your opinion, but don't you think you owe it to yourself to question, analyze, ponder, filter through logic, what the Left is handing you?

    31. Mike Sheahen, Hickor says:

      Dateline, Monday, 19 October 2009.

      Today's entry of "Exposing the Obamacare Shell Game", in the Heritage Foundation's "The Morning Bell", can in fact be said to be just another way of showing, after a week of doing the same, how the coming government take-over of our lives, businesses, jobs, and more, through both our healthcare and our healthcare system, has nothing to do with so-called "healthcare reform" for the better, and everything to do with the most deceitful, contemptuous, and even deadly government grab for power and money, with the evident attitude of "the (tangible and intangible) costs be damned", to ever take place in our history.

      Of course, after too many years of too many of us, the people of the United States, "falling asleep" like frogs being progressively boiled to death by government power and money-grabbers, including such so-called "Progressives (Leftists)" as Obama, Reid, Pelosi, and their Comrades, or like "guards falling asleep on duty and letting thieves rob and rule", history to this day has already repeatedly shown and proven that we should expect nothing else.

      And so it is that government power and money-grabbers, such as Obama, Reid, Pelosi, and their Comrades, have caused and will cause both current and subsequent generations of us, the people, to pay dearly for the fact that not enough of us, among previous and current generations, have acted on the wisdom of what our Founding Fathers gave and wrote to us, such as that of Thomas Jefferson when he said "The two enemies of the people are criminals and government, so let us tie the second down with the chains of the Constitution so the second does not become the legalized version of the first".

    32. Lynn B. DeSpain says:

      Does anyone out there really expect Obama not to lie?

      Hozro

    33. Lola, Marion, KY says:

      The postal service is not run by the government. It is a separate entity, not supported by taxes. It ran in to financial difficulties after the government required it to pre-fund future retirement health benefits. No other business is required to do that by the government.

      Regarding the Veterans' Administration's health care: I saw the "care" they gave my brother, and the fellows in his ward when he was sick. I wouldn't take my dog to them for health care, after seeing how they "cared for" the vets.

    34. Judith in Michigan says:

      Mr. Fleck of Ark.

      Your argument is confused, so thought I'd help you out here.

      You argue that public health care will be good, because healthy people are better than sick people. Without a doubt, but this simplistic statement is irrelevant to the argument. The current proposals being discussed are about health care ins. (and the eventual destruction of the ins. industry), control of doctors' ability to treat patients and conduct their businesses, allotments, rationing and the denial of care, govt control of costs, and the most oppresive, complete govt control over a vital and major US industry, Medicine.

      The American health care system, that is–the care, advanced innovations of care, advanced research in diseases and drugs, cures, advanced treatments of diseases, and advanced surgical procedures and the best state-of-the-art hospitals is second to none in the world. That is why thousands of foreign citizens come to the US in hopes of saving their lives and getting treatments that will help them and treatments being denied to them in their own countries.

      So, these are two different issues. If the govt is allowed to take over complete control of medicine in America, the whole industry will be subject to the whims of every politician who has an agenda, or who wants to "pay off" someone. Such as federal provided abortions and "free" care for illegals that the majority of US citizens oppose. The medical industry, as a whole, will be stunted, gutted, and will fail with govt control.

      So, do you get it now?

      Thought you would.

    35. Sheri says:

      I wouldn't let any one I care about set foot in a VA facility. I used to work in a VA hospital and I've seen what goes on there.

    36. William Cunningham. says:

      I saw a bumper sticker the other day and agreed with it whole heartedly.

      FIGHT CRIME, RE-ELECT NOBODY !!!

    37. Pingback: Morning Bell: Exposing the Obamacare Shell Game » The Foundry | Games Space

    38. Ron Derry NH says:

      I do believe that there are a lot of people that don't understand math.

      It is easy to promise the world to everyone, it is easy to pass that debt on to the next guy, but it is nearly impossible to give back the value stolen by printing money to add liquidity to bankers at the cost of future citizens worth.

      Working class Americans are willing and able to fight there way out of a trench but not with a government still digging the whole deeper.

      There is an affect being played out here that will be addressed when the market pressures globally equalize and Americans find themselves working harder, longer and for less worth. It is not a mystery that printing more money deflates a countries value, only a mystery as to why governments exercise this practice to fleece their own people of their hard earned value.

      Sadly we are seeing how divisive Obama really is with his agenda and how the Democrats feed off this division to harm the future of America with more debt, more mandates and more false hope. Simply mathematically our worth as a people is being traded for an agenda of servitude to government will and no way out accept to surrender to the desires of the fed to deflate the dollar.

      A government that won't protect its peoples worth has little hope of protecting their health.

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    42. Leon, Durango, CO says:

      Did anybody else catch Suzanne Sommers on CNN? (Larry King, Oct 23). She explained how 40,000 unnecessary chemo-therapies were done in America. These were done on cancers that we know Chemo-therapy does not work. It not work for certain cancers (though CHEMO works on three of them). Point being, Medical Care is being used to fleece Americans. Don't be so quick to bow down and worship these doctors. They have applied STATISTICS in place of analysis, often to the exclusion of common sense.

      The FDA ruled that health food stores only sell RED RICE after its Statin properties are bleached out! Natural Statin in food cannot be profitable to the Militant Medical Industry Complex. Drugs are sold with worse side effects than the discomfort they treat (often suicide). Drugs are sold at hundreds of dollars a month that work no better than some tea in Chinese Medicine. It goes on and on. Doctors are sick of it.

      Several diseases are not diseases at all, they are syndromes: Cancer, ADHD, Cholesterol, COPD, etc, and doctors are dishonest about them and their treatment. Junk science is well accepted in Evolution, Global Warming etc. so get a grip! There is plenty of Junk Science in Medicine. So, I don't want forced medical care as destructive as the Cap And Trade legislation, based on JUNK SCIENCE. I want the right to die with dignity, and I don't see anything holy about having nothing to leave my beneficiaries because the damned plutocratic doctors want to squeeze me dry at the end of life.

    43. Leon, Durango, CO says:

      Did anybody else catch Suzanne Sommers on CNN? (Larry King, Oct 23). She explained how 40,000 unnecessary chemo-therapies were done in America. These were done on cancers that we know Chemo-therapy does not work. It does not work for certain cancers (though CHEMO works on three of them). Point being, Medical Care is being used to fleece Americans. Don't be so quick to bow down and worship these doctors. They have applied STATISTICS in place of analysis, often to the exclusion of common sense.

      The FDA ruled that health food stores only sell RED RICE after its Statin properties are bleached out! Natural Statin in food cannot be profitable to the Militant Medical Industry Complex. Drugs are sold with worse side effects than the discomfort they treat (often suicide). Drugs are sold at hundreds of dollars a month that work no better than some tea in Chinese Medicine. It goes on and on. Doctors are sick of it.

      Several diseases are not diseases at all, they are syndromes: Cancer, ADHD, Cholesterol, COPD, etc, and doctors are dishonest about them and their treatment. Junk science is well accepted in Evolution, Global Warming etc. so get a grip! There is plenty of Junk Science in Medicine. So, I don't want forced medical care as destructive as the Cap And Trade legislation, based on JUNK SCIENCE. I want the right to die with dignity, and I don't see anything holy about having nothing to leave my beneficiaries because the damned plutocratic doctors want to squeeze me dry at the end of life.

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