Filed under: Capitalism, Economy, Health Care, Liberalism | Tags: It Just Won't Work, The Medicaid Catastrophe, Unintended Consequences
More than half of all states are now suing to stop ObamaCare. Maine became the 23 state on Wednesday, and Kansas the 24th to join Florida’s multi-state lawsuit. Thirty-three Republican governors and governors-elect have signed a letter to the White House and Congress making an emphatic appeal that ObamaCare’s Medicaid provisions be repealed.
Medicaid pays health care and long-term expenses for certain categories of individuals. It costs taxpayers almost $400 billion a year without providing Medicaid recipients with a high quality of care. National spending on Medicaid has nearly quintupled over the past twenty years, and about 16 percent of the population is currently covered.
A recent study from the University of Virginia has found that Medicaid patients have worse surgical outcomes than people without insurance. In spite of this, ObamaCare relies heavily on the Medicaid program to cut the number of individuals without health insurance. So the Obama administration can claim (correctly) that more people are covered — they just can’t get any care.
Obama’s Medicaid mandates include a requirement that states maintain current program eligibility along with a required expansion that will increase national enrollment by about 20 million. States can’t afford the current program, nor can they attempt to cut costs. Most states have balanced budget amendments that prevent the kind of creative financing the federal government uses.
Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels explains how ObamaCare will probably kill Indiana’s “Healthy Indiana Plan”, which relies on health savings accounts for 50,000 low-income people. The program has been hugely successful and popular, but ObamaCare mandates eliminate health savings accounts. Governor Daniels explains in the video below how ObamaCare is affecting his state.
ObamaCare has burdened states with all sorts of mandates, penalized them for not conforming, and as a solution wants to bail out the states most adversely affected by increasing the national deficit. They are unwilling to tackle the structural problems. Many doctors refuse to accept Medicaid patients now, and the situation will only get worse with the increasing shortage of doctors. Medical schools cannot keep up with the need, and the nation faces a shortage of 150,000 doctors in the next 15 years — not counting the 40 percent of physicians who say they may leave the profession.
Nancy Pelosi’s comment about having to wait until we could read the bill and figure out what is in it becomes ever more irresponsible as time goes on and we do find out what is in it.
ObamaCare rewards friends of the administration, and punishes enemies. In September, HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius began granting waivers to those companies that provide low-cost plans with low annual limits on what the insurance will pay out. This followed the announcement by some employers that they would have to drop the plans because they did not meet the mandate that 85% of premium income be spent on medical expenses. By early December, HHS had granted 222 waivers covering 1,507,418 employees, more than a third of which are union members. Then she announced that companies looking for rate increases of 10% or more would have to justify the hikes to her department. Insurance regulation has traditionally been a state responsibility.
Democrats are planning to mount a vigorous defense of ObamaCare. Paid television ads, phone banks, scheduled events. They are assuming that you don’t love ObamaCare because they just didn’t do a good enough job of telling you how wonderful it is. The trouble is that they don’t even know what is in the bill themselves, and have no understanding whatsoever of the unintended consequences they have set in action.