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  • Is Obamacare a Budget Buster, Medicare Disaster, or Both?

    This week National Journal Online asked their stable of health experts: Would the leading Democratic health care reform proposals result in a better or worse Medicare?

    Heritage Foundation Vice President for Domestic Policy Stuart Butler responded:

    On the face of it, the reform proposals would help ease the $37 trillion unfunded obligations of Medicare, making it a tad more viable for current and future seniors. But the savings on one credit card just become new liabilities on another. Moreover, if the key cuts actually went into place it would be a disaster for seniors. In the Reid bill, physician fees are to be cut more than 20 percent in 2011 and kept there indefinitely. That would cause docs to leave in droves and mean care cutbacks from those who remain. And Medicare’s chief actuary says payment rate cuts will cause up to 20 percent of Medicare hospitals to become unprofitable. Medicare Advantage, it’s true, would not cut to the bone, but there will be a significant erosion of benefits and far fewer plans available.

    But the “good” news for seniors is that much of this will not actually happen. For instance, AARP and the AMA will as usual make sure those meat axe physician cuts never happen – the Senate, like the House, will simply run up the national credit card via another bill. Many other promised savings will also turn out to be phantom cuts. Congress will never let the Medicare commission, for example, chop away enough to meet the savings target.

    So seniors will not encounter the big cutbacks many predict. Instead the long-term financial problem will continue and the new coverage entitlement will add to the total unfunded debt handed to our kids and grandkids. If Congress were serious about reform and fiscal prudence it would move Medicare towards a defined-contribution premium-support system. It would also make each new coverage commitments contingent on first achieving and “banking” Medicare savings. But Congress is not serious.

    On Wednesday of this week, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) confirmed Butler’s analysis, writing about Democrat claim that Obamacare strengthened Medicare:

    The key point is that the savings to the HI trust fund under the PPACA would be received by the government only once, so they cannot be set aside to pay for future Medicare spending and, at the same time, pay for current spending on other parts of the legislation or on other programs…To describe the full amount of HI trust fund savings as both improving the government’s ability to pay future Medicare benefits and financing new spending outside of Medicare would essentially double-count a large share of those savings and thus overstate the improvement in the government’s fiscal position.

    Posted in Obamacare [slideshow_deploy]

    17 Responses to Is Obamacare a Budget Buster, Medicare Disaster, or Both?

    1. Freedom of Speech, T says:

      They say no rationing? Let's at least be intelluctually honest.

      We already have a doctor and nursing shortage. Many in this profession are aging and may retire prematurely once this bill goes through.

      Where are we going to get another hundred thousand doctors and nurses – if not more?

      How many students are going to go in debt and face possibly salary/pay caps? With no tort reform, debt load, and inherent stress, what is the use?

      What if POTUS declares "amnesty"? How many more millions can we absorb?

      Yet, this will not raise the deficit, will save money, and not result in rationing?

      It doesn't take rocket science to figure out that once the full impact of this hits us – most Americans' standard of living just dropped dramatically.

    2. Pingback: PunditKix

    3. petey virginia says:


    4. judy, Richland, WA says:

      We all need to become 'Liberty Czars'

    5. db, Il says:

      As a current medical student that has a debt nearing $200,000 obamacare is s—. I completely agree with freedom of speech's post and if this crap actually goes through a few of my friend's and I will work through residency to pay off our loans and after that hang our pretty degree's on our walls then proceed to open a Dunkin Doughnuts.

    6. Mike Hammerlund says:

      They will not listen to us until we have Liberty they will not stop trying to change this land into a EU.

    7. RLV Phila.Pa. says:

      It's all about control,your health care be damned.We are losing our freedoms a little at a time.Both political parties are at fault here,for the runaway spending.Obama is a far left President whom the people elected by a slim majority.One day in the not to distant future our economy is going to be bankrupt,then we will no longer be a nation called The United States of America,we will be owned by all of these Goverments who have been lending us trillions of dollars.We will not even have the money to support a military to defend ourselfs,think about that.

    8. Drew Page, IL says:

      It should be painfully clear to anyone who can read that the majority in Congress don't give a damn about how much of our money they spend. You and I and our children and grandchildren will be the ones to have to payoff these excesses.

      Can it really be true that Nancy Pelosi has a big new jet airplane to take her non-stop from D.C. to San Francisco each Friday afternoon and bring her back to D.C. every Monday morning? Can it be true that each round trip burns $120,000 of jet fuel?

    9. Bobbie Jay says:

      The key is to get the president and his administration to be intellectually honest. Unfortunately, over and over again, that is not within their ability or will.

    10. philip says:

      Americans we need to rise up, and take our country back from these markist democrats. Who have desregaurds of our fredoms,and the consitution of this country witch in their oath of office they sware to up hold. Obama dose not reconise the consition as binding he stated that it should be changed to give power of the goverment to the presdent, and the house, and congress total power to rule over the people of the united states. Instead of we the people rule the goverment. We americans need to wake up, and take back our counmtry,and our freedoms from these policial leader who are willing to lie, decive,and commit even treason to take yours,and my freedoms away for their greed for power

    11. Nancy, Georgia says:

      If on Medicare, Have you received your Medicare notice that you are going to be charged $25.00 monthly beginning Jan. 2010 directly by Medicare for Rx even though you are paying for health and Rx insurance to a private insurance company? This is in addition to increasing withholding by Medicare a charge that is going up from $96 momthly to $120+.I am paying thousands yearly for care and I am pretty healty for a Senior.

    12. Bill, Kansas City, M says:

      We need to demand term limits and limits on campaign contributions.

    13. Lynn B. DeSpain says:

      Congress may be insane, they may be Socialist, fascist, thieves, or worse, but they are not so stupid as to end their carreers by affecting large goups of people during their own tenure! They always wait until they have safely gone to greener pastures before the effect hits, and then blame it all on the current crop of Legislatures.

      It is now time to 'Clean House" literally! Vote all new members into the House of Representatives this coming November. Vote all new, the one third of Senators coming up for re-election.

      That is how you get them back to serving America's Citizens!

    14. Joe from Rohnert Par says:

      Folks, we should not be surprised by this latest sleight of hand by the Democrats. Back in February, the newly-inaugurated Obama held a Fiscal Responsibility Summit at the White House. You can look it up on the White House website. At the summit, a key item was that, in order to get control over future deficits, the government had to get control over entitlement programs, especially Social Security and Medicare. The Healthcare Bill takes care of Medicare by the vast expansion of federal regulation buried in the 2,000-plus pages.

      In addition, Congress has been borrowing from the Medicare and Social Security trust funds for years, leaving Treasury bonds in place of the cash paid in. The looming tidal wave was when current Medicare taxes no longer covered current expenses, forcing the trust fund managers to start cashing in those T-bonds. With this new bill, Congress has effectively transferred that trust fund debt into a general fund obligation without owning up to the fact that they spent all of the money with no plan to ever replace it.

      And, you thought Harry Reid was a dummy! Turns out we're all dummies!

    15. Lauren, TX says:

      My dream job is to be a surgeon. Right now I’m in college and have already felt the drop in financial aid. I know the cost of tuition is increasing, and I still have 2 years of undergrad left. By the time I get out of medical school, my debt will be close to $200,000 to $250,000 assuming I go to a public school. So much for the American dream… who knows if I will ever be out of debt.

    16. Pingback: Why Is Opposition to ObamaCare a Surprise? | Conservative Principles Now

    17. Pingback: Bloggasm » Conservative bloggers loved the CBO before they hated it

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