American Elephants


Repeal and Replace! by The Elephant's Child

The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ObamaCare) is one of the biggest, most complex pieces of legislation in U.S. history, and it doesn’t protect patients and is not affordable. Douglas Holtz-Eakin, former Director of the Congressional Budget Office estimates that the costs will be 1 trillion more than claimed. The government has no money of its own to pay for your health care, so guess where the trillion dollars will come from.

The U.S. House of Representatives will begin debating the repeal of ObamaCare tonight. They promised to do so, and they mean to fulfill their promises. The effort can be filed under “Taking a Stand.”

— ObamaCare forces individuals to buy a health insurance plan whose cost will grow at twice the rate of growth of their incomes, and the act ends many of the tools the private sector uses to control costs.

— ObamaCare aims to insure 34 million uninsured people. Economic studies suggest that they will, once insured, double their consumption of medical care.  The act does not create one new doctor, nurse or paramedic.  We can expect 900,000 additional emergency room visits, mostly by new Medicaid enrollees who cannot find a personal physician.  There is no provision for the funding that will be there for the safety-net institutions that will face the biggest burdens.  Their “disproportionate share” of funds are slated to be cut.

— ObamaCare cuts in Medicare are huge.  By 2017, seniors in cities like Dallas, Houston and San Antonio will lose 1/3 of their benefits.  By 2020, Medicare nationwide will pay doctors and hospitals less than Medicaid pays.  Seniors will be lined up behind Medicaid patients at community health centers unless this is changed. The elderly will be in a separate and inferior health care system.

— While ObamaCare requires people to by insurance and fines them if they don’t, the states will receive no additional funds if the estimated 10 million currently Medicaid-eligible people decide to enroll. States are currently struggling with Medicaid, and more and more doctors are refusing Medicaid patients, because of low government reimbursement.

— The incentives are all wrong in ObamaCare.  It forces people to spend their premium dollars on first dollar coverage for a long list of diagnostic tests, in the illusion that free preventative care will keep people from getting sick in the future. But you diagnose future problems when there is a symptom. This would have family doctors delivering care to healthy people, with no time for the unhealthy.

— Those best able to find ways to reduce costs and increase quality are the nation’s 778,000 doctors. Most of the factors driving costs up originate with unhealthy government requirements.  By 2015 we are expected to be at least 150,000 short of doctors, and this does not include those physicians who choose to leave the profession.  Medicare dominates the payment system, and it will become increasingly harder to find doctors to accept Medicare and Medicaid patients.

— If history is a guide, 80% of the 78 million baby boomers will retire before they become eligible for Medicare. Two thirds have no promise of post-retirement health care from an employer.  ObamaCare appears to encourage employers to drop the postretirement health plans now available.  Those who have above average incomes will receive little or no tax relief when they purchase insurance in the new exchanges.

These warnings come from John Goodman’s Health Policy Blog at the National Center for Policy Analysis (NCPA).  He includes possible solutions with each warning.  Do read the whole thing, it’s not long.  Dr. Goodman is the “Father of Health Savings Accounts,” an innovation that has many satisfied employers and employees, for they have been big money savers.  That excellence is, of course being ended by ObamaCare.




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