So misshapen is this new law — starting with its death-panel gutting of Medicare — it can only be regarded as the beginning, not the end, of the battle to reform health care policy in the U.S.
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Counting just some of these cost increases, one study concludes that under Obamacare a typical family health insurance policy costing $12,300 today will cost $17,200 by 2013, $21,300 by 2016, and $25,900 by 2019. Another study concludes that insurance costs for young (up to 40) and healthy workers will double and triple in many cases.
These cost increases have already begun. But expect the liberal/left to insist that the soaring insurance costs caused by Obamacare prove that the public option, or even more overt socialized medicine, was needed after all. They will seek to prohibit the necessary premium increases, as in Massachusetts, and will be glad if that forces private insurers out of business.
While the liberal/left hides behind literal clowns mocking Sarah Palin for raising the issue of death panels under Obamacare, the legislation as passed documents the essential reality of the charge.
The recently released Annual Report of the Medicare Board of Trustees reveals that the Medicare payment rates for the doctors and hospitals serving seniors will be cut by 30% over the next 3 years. By 2019, those Medicare payment rates will be lower than under Medicaid. The Chief Actuary for Medicare reports that ultimately under Obamacare Medicare payment rates will be only one third of what will be paid by private insurance and only half of what is paid by Medicaid, where the poor often can’t find access to essential care.
Still further Medicare cuts adopted in the Obamacare legislation add up altogether to $818 billion over the first 10 years of full implementation, 2014-2023, and $3.223 trillion over the first 20 years, 2014-2033, for Medicare Part A (HI) alone! Adding in the cuts for Medicare Part B brings the total to $1.048 trillion over the first 10 full years, and $4.95 trillion over the first 20 full years. Eventually, as documented in the government’s own reports, Medicare Part A is cut by 60% per year, Part B by 43%!
These draconian cuts for doctors and hospitals providing the health care to seniors under Medicare were the basis for the CBO score repeatedly cited by President Obama that Obamacare would actually reduce the deficit while expanding or adopting three entitlement programs. This doesn’t even include the further cuts to Medicare Advantage, the private alternative to Medicare which nearly 25% of seniors have chosen for their Medicare coverage because it gives them a better deal, and the further automatic Medicare cuts to be adopted by the unelected, appointed, bureaucrats at the Medicare Independent Payment Advisory Board under Obamacare.
Such draconian Medicare cuts would create havoc and chaos in health care for seniors. Doctors, hospitals, surgeons and specialists providing critical care to the elderly such as surgery for hip and knee replacements, sophisticated diagnostics through MRIs and CT scans, and even treatment for cancer and heart disease will shut down and disappear in much of the country, and others will stop serving Medicare patients. If the government is not going to pay, then seniors are not going to get the health services, treatment and care they expect. Indeed, the Medicare Chief Actuary reports that even before these cuts already two-thirds of hospitals were losing money on Medicare patients. Health providers will either have to withdraw from serving Medicare patients, or eventually go into bankruptcy.
Apparently, President Obama’s concept of spreading the wealth includes sacking the Medicare system on which America’s seniors have come to rely for highly beneficial medical care, in favor of others who the Obama/Pelosi/Reid progressive vision deems more worthy.
As the government clamps down on private insurers as well as on payments from Medicare and Medicaid, the incentives for essential investment to maintain current facilities, expand and open new ones, and invest in and build out new innovations and breakthroughs, will be eviscerated. Investment in human capital as well as physical capital in health care will plummet, as doctors and other professionals increasingly flee health care. This effective decline in the supply of health care in the face of increasing demand will mean even higher prices and costs.
The study further explains how several provisions of Obamacare give insurers, doctors, and hospitals incentives to deny and ration health care to patients. A central component of the traditional high standard of living in America has been the best, most advanced, cutting edge health care in the world. No more. Obamacare is part of the declining standard of living for America.
America’s Coming Bankruptcy
When he was campaigning for Obamacare, President Obama insisted on national television that the mandate to buy insurance was not a tax. Now that it has passed, his lawyers are in court arguing that it is constitutional because it is a tax.
The mandate to buy insurance is economically, though not legally, indistinguishable from a tax. Even with the budget-crushing new entitlement subsidies in the Act, the insurance will be quite expensive, ranging up to 2 percent of income for people at 133 percent of poverty to 9.8 percent of income for people at 400 percent of poverty. That is like a new payroll tax, breaking two Obama pledges, since it applies just as well to those making less than $250,000 a year.
The study recounts at least 13 tax increases in Obamacare, adding up to at least $500 billion over the first 10 years, not counting the mandates. But that won’t begin to cover all of the spending involved in Obamacare, adding up to more than $2.4 trillion over the first 10 years of full implementation, from 2014 to 2024, and $5.3 trillion over the first 15 full years.
A man of faith in a godless age is hitting Americans where it hurts.
Mr. and Mrs. American Spectator Reader, let P.J. O’Rourke talk sense to your kids.
In Britain, defending your property can get you life.
The debacle of this president’s administration is both a cause and a symptom of the decline of American values. Unless Congress impeaches him, that decline will go on unchecked. An eminent jurist surveys the damage and assesses the chances for the recovery of our culture.
It won’t take long for conservatives to scratch this presidential wannabe off their 2008 scorecard.
The American Christmas, like the songs that celebrate it, makes room for everybody under the rainbow. Is that why so many people seem to be hostile to it?
Was the President done in by the economy, or by the politics of the economy?