Obamacare, Sinking Like the Titanic

Titanic-ACAThe desire to provide health insurance for every citizen is a noble one, but can only be achieved if people who can afford insurance pay the premiums for those who cannot. Consequently, it is an economic impossibility for Obamacare to be implemented without significant additional taxes plus cost reductions in other areas. One of those areas is Medicare which will experience a $700 billion reduction in funding- euphemistically called “cost containment”, by the administration. And that’s just the tip of the latest iceberg.

Obamacare by the Numbers

Obamacare, also known as The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, (ACA) is one of the most divisive pieces of legislation in recent memory– which begs the question, “Why would anyone be against expanding the availability of health insurance?” At least that’s the question the liberal media and other proponents of the ACA would have you believe opponents are asking. In fact, the question that most ACA detractors are posing is, “How are we as a nation going to pay for the ACA?”

The alleged impetus for passing the ACA was the 30+ million Americans who either couldn’t afford or wouldn’t buy health insurance. Yet, when the ACA became the oft-referenced “law of the land”, it mandated every individual had to be covered by health insurance– yet it did nothing to directly address the economic condition of people who currently cannot afford to pay for health insurance.

So people who formerly couldn’t afford health insurance still can’t afford it, and the only way they can comply with the mandate to purchase it is to have somebody else, pay part, if not all, of the premium costs. That “somebody” is the federal government, which means anyone who pays income or a variety of other taxes will be picking up the tab. That’s no surprise as subsidized health insurance is an integral part of the ACA, which at its core, is more about income redistribution than health care.

The plethora of new taxes and tax increases (to be covered in Part 2) that will fund the ACA are apparently not sufficient, so the act also calls for cuts in other areas, most notably Medicare. Those cuts are deceitfully being marketed as reductions in future spending; the party line, as stated in a recent PolitiFact article is, “So Obamacare doesn’t “cut” Medicare funding that already exists. Rather, it controls future spending, which politicians on both sides of the aisle called for.”

In theory, the plan to cut $700 billion from Medicare expenses over 10 years sounds good, as it allegedly relies on reductions in waste and fraud, and improvements in efficiency. In fact, the cuts will be implemented through a 10-part plan that increases costs and limits options. While “death panels” per se may not be part of Obamacare, the effect of some of the act’s requirements may mean an early grave for some Medicare patients.

A list and extensive explanation of the Medicare “cost containment” programs (some of which have already been implemented) may be found on the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation web site. Click the following link and scroll down to Page 8. www.kaiserfamilyfoundation.files.wordpress.com/2011/04/8061-21.pdf

The short version is that a variety of federal agencies will review Medicare payments and either recommend or implement cost cuts. (The actual dollar amounts are unknown at this point, but will be in the billions of dollars.) So in spite of claims to the contrary, government bureaucrats will have direct involvement in determining Medicare payment levels. That involvement may not be on an individual basis, but it will have an across-the-board impact. As stated in the Kaiser document, one program is to “Establish an Independent Payment Advisory Board comprised of 15 members to submit legislative proposals containing recommendations to reduce the per capita rate of growth in Medicare spending if spending exceeds a target growth rate.”

A number of other regulations call for evaluations and adjustments in payments based on “quality thresholds”, efficiency and a variety of other metrics. In a perfect world, the Medicare cost containment measures might legitimately reduce inefficiency, waste and fraud without negatively impacting the availability and administration of health care services. But considering that the same people who botched just about every other aspect of Obamacare, are in control of these new requirements, and considering the $700 billion that will be cut from Medicare, to finance Obamacare, there’s no doubt your grandma and grandpa, and every other Medicare “beneficiary” will likely not receive the medical care they need.

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