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Morning Bell: A Deathblow for Obamacare

Posted By Conn Carroll On November 16, 2009 @ 9:45 am In Ongoing Priorities | Comments Disabled

Standing in the Rose Garden on November 7th, President Barack Obama celebrated the passage of the House health care bill claiming [1]: “The Affordable Health Care for America Act is a piece of legislation that will provide stability and security for Americans who have insurance; quality, affordable options for those who don’t; and bring down the cost of health care for families, businesses, and our government, while strengthening the financial health of Medicare.” Quite a bold statement if true. But a report [2] released Friday by the non-partisan and independent Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services [3], the agency in charge of running Medicare and Medicaid, blows the lid off of every one of Obama’s claims. All of the following quotes are from the report itself:

Health Care Costs Increase: “In aggregate, we estimate that for calendar years 2010 through 2019 [national health expenditures (NHE)] would increase by $289 billion, or 0.8 percent, over the updates baseline projection that was released on June 29, 2009.” [4] In other words, Obamacare bends the cost curve up, not down.

Millions Lose Existing Private Coverage: “However, a number of workers who currently have employer coverage would likely become enrolled in the expanded Medicaid program or receive subsidized coverage through the Exchange. For example, some smaller employers would be inclined to terminate their existing coverage, and companies with low average salaries might find it to their – and their employees’ – advantage to end their plans … We estimate that such actions would collectively reduce the number of people with employer-sponsored health coverage by about 12 million.” [5] In other words, Obamacare will cause millions of Americans to lose their existing private coverage.

Millions Pay Fines Yet Remain Uncovered: “18 million are estimated to choose not to be insured and to pay the penalty associated with the individual mandate. For the most part, these would be individuals with relatively low health care expenses for whom the individual or family insurance premium would be significantly in excess of the penalty and their anticipated health benefit value.” [5] In other words, 18 million Americans will either face jail time or be forced to pay a new tax they will receive no benefit from.

Millions Lose Medicare Advantage: “Section 1161 of Division B of H.R. 3962 would set Medicare Advantage capitation benchmarks … We estimate that in 2014 when the MA provisions would be fully phased in, enrollment in MA plans would decreased by 64 percent (from its projected level of 13.2 million under current law to 4.7 million under the proposal).” [6] In other words, 8.5 million seniors who currently get such services as coor­dinated care for chronic conditions, routine eye and hearing examinations, and preventive-care services [7] would lose their existing private coverage.

Millions Placed on Welfare: “Of the additional 34 million who are estimated to be insured in 2019 as a result of H.R. 3962, about three-fifths (21 million) would receive Medicaid coverage due to the expansion of eligibility to those adults under 150 percent of the FPL.” [8] In other words, more than half the people who gain health insurance will receive it through the welfare program Medicaid.

Seniors Access to Care Jeopardized: “H.R. 3962 would introduce permanent annual productivity adjustments to price updates for institutional providers… Over time, a sustained reduction in payment updates, based on productivity expectations that are difficult to attain, would cause Medicare payment rates to grow more slowly than and in a way that was unrelated to, the providers’ costs of furnishing services to beneficiaries. Thus, providers for whom Medicare constitutes a substantive portion of their business could find it difficult to remain profitable and might end their participation in the program (possibly jeopardizing access to care for beneficiaries).” [6] In other words, the Medicare cuts in the House bill are so out of touch with reality that hospitals currently serving Medicare patients might be forced to stop doing so. Thus making it much more difficult for seniors to get health care.

Poor’s Access Problems Exacerbated: “In practice, supply constraints might interfere with providing the services by the additional 34 million insured persons. …providers might tend to accept more patients who have private insurance (with relatively attractive payment rates) and fewer Medicaid patients, exacerbating existing access problems for the latter group.” [9] In other words, those 21 million people who are gaining health insurance through Medicaid are going to have a very tough time finding a doctor who will treat them.

Reacting in part to Friday’s CMS report, Robert J. Samuelson writes in today’s Washington Post [10]:

The disconnect between what President Obama says and what he’s doing is so glaring that most people could not abide it. The president, his advisers and allies have no trouble. But reconciling blatantly contradictory objectives requires them to engage in willful self-deception, public dishonesty, or both.

There is a reason why as more Americans learn about Obamacare, the less popular it gets [11].

Quick Hits:

  • Commenting on President Barack Obama’s meeting with Emperor Akihito of Japan, an academic with expertise about the Japanese Empire tells ABC News [12]: “The bow as he performed did not just display weakness in Red State terms, but evoked weakness in Japanese terms….The last thing the Japanese want or need is a weak looking American president and, again, in all ways, he unintentionally played that part.”
  • Thanks to conservatives in Congress, President Obama has been “hobbled” [13] in his search for a global warming treaty.
  • The government paid more than $47 billion in questionable Medicare claims [14] including medical treatment showing little relation to a patient’s condition, wasting taxpayer money at a rate nearly three times that of the previous year.
  • Former Assistant Secretary of Treasury and Deputy Assistant to President George W. Bush Tony Fratto explains why President Obama’s trip, and his “new engagement” with Asia, ignores the achievements [15] of many past U.S. presidents.
  • After $111 billion in bailouts for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the Federal Housing Administration is also close to a taxpayer bailout [16].

Article printed from The Foundry: Conservative Policy News from The Heritage Foundation: http://blog.heritage.org

URL to article: http://blog.heritage.org/2009/11/16/morning-bell-a-deathblow-for-obamacare/

URLs in this post:

[1] claiming: http://blogs.wsj.com/washwire/obamas-statement-on-the-houses-health-care-vote/

[2] report: http://republicans.waysandmeans.house.gov/UploadedFiles/OACT_Memorandum_on_Financial_Impact_of_H_R__3962__11-13-09_.pdf

[3] Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services: http://www.cms.hhs.gov/

[4] “In aggregate, we estimate that for calendar years 2010 through 2019 [national health expenditures (NHE)] would increase by $289 billion, or 0.8 percent, over the updates baseline projection that was released on June 29, 2009.”: http://republicans.waysandmeans.house.gov/UploadedFiles/OACT_Memorandum_on_Financial_Impact_of_H_R__3962__11-13-09_.pdf#page=12

[5] “However, a number of workers who currently have employer coverage would likely become enrolled in the expanded Medicaid program or receive subsidized coverage through the Exchange. For example, some smaller employers would be inclined to terminate their existing coverage, and companies with low average salaries might find it to their – and their employees’ – advantage to end their plans … We estimate that such actions would collectively reduce the number of people with employer-sponsored health coverage by about 12 million.”: http://republicans.waysandmeans.house.gov/UploadedFiles/OACT_Memorandum_on_Financial_Impact_of_H_R__3962__11-13-09_.pdf#page=7

[6] “Section 1161 of Division B of H.R. 3962 would set Medicare Advantage capitation benchmarks … We estimate that in 2014 when the MA provisions would be fully phased in, enrollment in MA plans would decreased by 64 percent (from its projected level of 13.2 million under current law to 4.7 million under the proposal).”: http://republicans.waysandmeans.house.gov/UploadedFiles/OACT_Memorandum_on_Financial_Impact_of_H_R__3962__11-13-09_.pdf#page=8

[7] coor­dinated care for chronic conditions, routine eye and hearing examinations, and preventive-care services: http://www.foundry.org/2009/07/29/obamacare-does-cut-your-medicare-benefits/

[8] “Of the additional 34 million who are estimated to be insured in 2019 as a result of H.R. 3962, about three-fifths (21 million) would receive Medicaid coverage due to the expansion of eligibility to those adults under 150 percent of the FPL.”: http://republicans.waysandmeans.house.gov/UploadedFiles/OACT_Memorandum_on_Financial_Impact_of_H_R__3962__11-13-09_.pdf#page=6

[9] “In practice, supply constraints might interfere with providing the services by the additional 34 million insured persons. …providers might tend to accept more patients who have private insurance (with relatively attractive payment rates) and fewer Medicaid patients, exacerbating existing access problems for the latter group.”: http://republicans.waysandmeans.house.gov/UploadedFiles/OACT_Memorandum_on_Financial_Impact_of_H_R__3962__11-13-09_.pdf#page=15

[10] Washington Post: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/11/15/AR2009111502212.html

[11] as more Americans learn about Obamacare, the less popular it gets: http://www.gallup.com/poll/124253/Say-Health-Coverage-Not-Gov-Responsibility.aspx

[12] ABC News: http://blogs.abcnews.com/politicalpunch/2009/11/on-president-obamas-bow-to-the-japanese-emperor-an-academic-friend-writes-that-both-the-left-and-the-right-are-wrong.html

[13] “hobbled”: http://www.nytimes.com/2009/11/16/science/earth/16climate.html?ref=todayspaper

[14] $47 billion in questionable Medicare claims: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/11/15/AR2009111502488.html

[15] Obama’s trip, and his “new engagement” with Asia, ignores the achievements: http://www.rooseveltroom.net/fratto-the-unbearable-lightness-of-being-obama/

[16] the Federal Housing Administration is also close to a taxpayer bailout: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/11/15/AR2009111502537.html

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