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More Broken Health Care Promises

Posted By Nina Owcharenko On December 18, 2009 @ 1:21 pm In Obamacare | Comments Disabled

New analysis confirms that the health care bills moving the House and Senate will break the many promises President Obama made to the American people. As the details of the legislation are exposed, it is no wonder that Americans are growing uneasy over the direction the legislation has taken.

The Chief Actuary for the President [1]’s own Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services issued an extensive analysis [2] of the pending Reid bill and House-passed bill. The Lewin Group also released an analysis [3] of the House and Senate bills. These reports provide a comprehensive overview and impact of the legislation. Here are a few important facts from the reports:

More Health Care Spending, Not Less
A key argument by the President and Congress for health care has been to bring health care spending down. However, both studies expose that instead of bring health care spending down, the House and Senate bills would increase health care spending.

  • The Actuaries report estimates that health care spending would increase under the Senate bill by $234 billion between 2010 and 2019 and $750 billion between 2010 and 2019 under the House bill.
  • The Lewin Group estimates the Senate bill would increase health care spending by $305 billion between 2010 and 2019 and $781 billion in the second decade. Under the House bill, Lewin Group estimates health care spending would increase by $425 billion between 2010 and 2019 and $955 billion in the second decade.

Adds to the Deficit, Not Reduces
In his address to Congress, the President promised the American people the bill would not add one dime to the deficit. While that may be technically correct, it is does not show the whole picture. The House and Senate bills excluded – not by accident – the costly provisions to the Medicare physician payment formula. The Lewin Group considered the impact of incorporating the costly physician payments changes into the larger health care bill to show the full impact on the deficit.

  • The Lewin Group estimates that when including the impact of correcting the Medicare physician payments, the federal deficit would increase by $196 between 2010 and 2019 and $765 billion in the second decade under the Senate bill. Under the House-passed bill, the federal deficit would increase by $77 billion between 2010 and 2019 and $591 billion in the second decade.

Costs and Premiums Go Up for Many
Although not highlighted as often anymore, the President promised that health insurance premiums would go down as a result of these bills. The analysis by Lewin Group actually shows there are big losers under the Senate and House bills.

  • Once fully implemented, health care spending per worker will increase for all employers who do not currently offer coverage — $316 per worker under the Senate bill and $800 increase per worker under the House bill. Depending on the firm size, it can get even worse. For example, under the Senate bill, employers with fewer than 10 workers would see a cost increase of $374 per worker. Under the House bill, employers with more than 100 workers would see an increase of $1,182 per worker.
  • Once fully implemented, average annual health care spending per family would also increase — $66 per family under the Senate bill and $83 per family under the House bill. While spending may go down for lower income families, families earning over $50,000 would see an increase of over $200 in annual health care spending under both the Senate and House bills, increasing further by income.
  • Currently uninsured families (with one or more uninsured members) would face significant increase in health care spending. The Lewin Group estimates uninsured families would pay $1,225 more per family/per year under the Senate bill and $1,308 more per family/per year under the House bill.

Loss of Employer Based Coverage
As a result of the structure of the House and Senate bills, many employers would find it advantageous to drop their existing coverage. Therefore, workers who currently have employer-based coverage would be transitioned out of their existing coverage.

  • The Actuary’s report estimates that the number of people currently with employer based coverage would drop by 17 million under the Senate bill and 12 million under the House-passed bill.
  • The Lewin Group estimates 16 million employers would drop coverage under the Senate bill and 18 million employers would drop coverage under the House bill.

No Choice for the Poor
One major theme of the health care debate has been to increase choice and competition in the health care system. Unfortunately, according the Actuary’s report and the Lewin Group, millions of uninsured Americans will not have choice, but forced to join a poor quality, government-run health care plan – Medicaid.

  • The Actuary’s report estimates about half (18 million) of the newly insured will end up on Medicaid as a result of the Senate bill and House bills.
  • The Lewin Group estimates 14 million more people would end up on Medicaid under the Senate bill and 12 million more under the House bill.

Millions Remain Uninsured
Besides claims to bend health care spending down, advocates for these proposals claim expanding coverage as a major goal for the trillion dollars legislative proposals. However, according to the Actuaries report and the Lewin analysis, millions of people would still remain uninsured under the House and Senate bills.

  • The Actuary report estimates 19 million Americans would remain uninsured under the Senate bill and 18 million Americans would remain uninsured under the House bill.
  • The Lewin Group analysis estimates 18 million Americans would remain uninsured under the Senate bill and 16 million would remain uninsured under the House bill.

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

URL to article: http://blog.heritage.org/2009/12/18/more-broken-health-care-promises/

URLs in this post:

[1] Chief Actuary for the President: http://www.heritage.org/research/healthcare/upload/OACTMemoHR3962.pdf

[2] extensive analysis: http://s3.amazonaws.com/thf_media/2009/pdf/OACTMemoFinImpactHR3590.pdf

[3] analysis: http://www.pgpf.org/resources/lewin-senate-house-comparison.pdf

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