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November 17, 2009

Bumped and Expanded: Yeah, The House Health Reform Bill Would Screw A Lot Of Things Up And As An Added Bonus...Raise Costs.

Bumped: DrewM. pointed out a devastating WaPo article on Sunday, a little-read day of the week. I'm bumping this whole post and adding additional quotes from that article. As he said to me, it needs greater coverage. Bear in mind, this report was prepared by the government office charged with keeping the books on Medicaid and Medicare, and "scoring" proposed changes in the law as concern these programs -- sort of Medicare's and Medicaid's CBO. So this is as authoritative as it comes.

Original post follows. Update at end.

Another one of those 'faux' studies funded by the eviiiiillll health insurance companies? Nope. This one is from the Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Services...the agency that runs those programs for the government.

Democrats have promised that health reform would reduce health care costs, but legislation the House passed last week would increase costs over the next decade by $289 billion. By 2019, health costs would rise to 21.1 percent of GDP compared to 20.8 under current law, according to an actuarial report prepared by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.

“With the exception of the proposed reductions in Medicare payment updates for institutional providers, the provisions of H.R. 3962 would not have a significant impact on future health care cost growth rates. In addition, the longer-term viability of the Medicare update reductions is doubtful,” the report said.

In other words, outside of Medicare payment cuts to hospitals, the bill doesn’t curb increasing health care costs. And even the Medicare payment cuts will be difficult to sustain.

That 500 BILLION Dollars in Medicare Cuts that Obama says won't impact services? According to this report it will impact them but don't worry, it'll never happen. Without those "cuts" this plan does nothing more than explode costs and the deficit.

Other highlights of the report include...the idea of saving money through "wellness" and "prevention" isn't going to work and the "public plan" would cost more to run than current private ones.

Most damning politically for Pelosi/Reid/Obama...

By 2014, Medicare Advantage enrollment would drop 64 percent from 13.2 million to 4.7 million because of less generous benefit packages.

In other words....Hey old folks, they are coming for your health care. In fact, as of this posting the top story on the Washington Post website is "Report: Bill would reduce senior care" Ouch.

That rumbling noise you hear? That's a lot of freshman and sophomore House Democrats running like hell from this bill on final passage (if it ever gets there). Right behind them are Democratic Sens. Kent Conrad, Bill Nelson, Ben Nelson, Mary Landrieu and Blanche Lincoln.

Two other sounds you hear...Joe Lieberman laughing and Harry Reid crying.

The truth is now out on this bill, it's an inter-generational and income group money and health care grab. Take from the rich and middle class and give it to those who don't have either.

It's also a freedom grab by the statists.

What's not to love?

Added note: I beat up on the House GOP for their tactics on the Stupak amendment but kudos to them for requesting this study. Not sure why it wasn't available last week, when it might have killed the bill there but it has just blown a huge hole in the Senate's efforts. Well done.

With a little luck, November 15th, 2009 might be the day we look back on as the day health care reform died.

More [ace]: Below.

Report: Bill would reduce senior care

Medicare cuts approved by House may affect access to providers

A plan to slash more than $500 billion from future Medicare spending -- one of the biggest sources of funding for President Obama's proposed overhaul of the nation's health-care system -- would sharply reduce benefits for some senior citizens and could jeopardize access to care for millions of others, according to a government evaluation released Saturday.

The report, requested by House Republicans, found that Medicare cuts contained in the health package approved by the House on Nov. 7 are likely to prove so costly to hospitals and nursing homes that they could stop taking Medicare altogether.

Congress could intervene to avoid such an outcome, but "so doing would likely result in significantly smaller actual savings" than is currently projected, according to the analysis by the chief actuary for the agency that administers Medicare and Medicaid. That would wipe out a big chunk of the financing for the health-care reform package, which is projected to cost $1.05 trillion over the next decade.

More generally, the report questions whether the country's network of doctors and hospitals would be able to cope with the effects of a reform package expected to add more than 30 million people to the ranks of the insured, many of them through Medicaid, the public health program for the poor.

In the face of greatly increased demand for services, providers are likely to charge higher fees or take patients with better-paying private insurance over Medicaid recipients, "exacerbating existing access problems" in that program, according to the report from Richard S. Foster of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.

Though the report does not attempt to quantify that impact, Foster writes: "It is reasonable to expect that a significant portion of the increased demand for Medicaid would not be realized."

What stultifying bureaucratese for saying that patients will be turned away at the door. Which is precisely what happens in every country with socialized health care.

Democrats focused Saturday on the positive aspects of the report, noting that Foster concludes that overall national spending on health care would increase by a little more than 1 percent over the next decade, even though millions of additional people would gain insurance. Out-of-pocket spending would decline more than $200 billion by 2019, with the government picking up much of that. The Medicare savings, if they materialized, would extend the life of that program by five years, meaning it would not begin to require cash infusions until 2022.

The positive aspects of the report? The report says that rather than reducing health care costs, it will increase them. The report says rather than increasing access, it will reduce it.

Either that, or you have to blow up the budget to pay trillions and trillions in higher taxes. You can either pay more and get more in health care, or pay more in taxes; either way, you're paying more, because you're paying for someone else's care.

You can't get something for nothing.

The plan is being sold as offering something for everyone: reduced costs for those already with insurance. Insurance for those who don't. Lower national spending on health care overall, for every taxpaying citizen.

In fact, it only achieves one of those goals -- giving insurance to those who don't have it -- and that only partly, and does so by increasing costs on everyone else and increasing national spending on health care, therefore increasing the tax-burden for every taxpaying citizen.

An AP poll shows that people still like the idea of "free insurance for everyone" in the abstract. So long as it is, in fact, "free" in the sense that taxpayers don't have to pick up the check.

But when you mention those increased costs, poll respondents balk.

Oh, and this is a must-read too.

There is an air of absurdity to what is mistakenly called "health-care reform." Everyone knows that the United States faces massive governmental budget deficits as far as calculators can project, driven heavily by an aging population and uncontrolled health costs. As we recover slowly from a devastating recession, it's widely agreed that, though deficits should not be cut abruptly (lest the economy resume its slump), a prudent society would embark on long-term policies to control health costs, reduce government spending and curb massive future deficits. The administration estimates these at $9 trillion from 2010 to 2019. The president and all his top economic advisers proclaim the same cautionary message.

So what do they do? Just the opposite. Their far-reaching overhaul of the health-care system -- which Congress is halfway toward enacting -- would almost certainly make matters worse. It would create new, open-ended medical entitlements that threaten higher deficits and would do little to suppress surging health costs. 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 only one goal to this "reform:" Universal coverage. Eventually. Everything else is to be sacrificed for that imperative. And yet it's being sold on the exact opposite grounds, that it will supposedly help everyone, rather than a discrete group consisting of less than 20% of the population.

If you think that's the only thing that matters, and don't mind paying double your current health-care costs (for less), by all means, support this abortion.

As I said before. It's ugly but it's true: Obama seeks to transfer trillions in benefits from those who do not support him strongly (the elderly, those making a decent salary) to those who do support him strongly (the poor, the young, the minority). All this hokum about "bending the curve" and saving money by discouraging "unnecessary tests" (while simultaneously saving lots of money by performing lots and lots more preventative testing, also known as "unnecessary tests") is just a smokescreen to disguise the basic fact that Obama is shifting trillions of benefits from the old to the young, and trillions in costs from the poor to the rich.

That's all it's about, and that's all it's ever been about. It's a shell game, a Rube Goldberg contraption, designed with only one goal in mind: to lower your resistance to paying more taxes to cover someone else's health care by making you think you're somehow coming out ahead on the deal.

digg this
posted by DrewM. at 06:00 PM

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