Posts Tagged ‘Medicaid expansion’

The Full Horror Revealed: We Now Know How America Will Collapse COMPLETELY From Within Due To Obama’s Undermining Of Economy, Security

May 11, 2015

I’m seeing more and more articles popping up from traditionally leftist sources acknowledging the epic, total fail that is, was and has been ObamaCare.  Yesterday, the reliably liberal USA Today front page had an article which I found in the print version titled, “Ky hospitals suffocating under ObamaCare: Facilities facing layoffs – and even shutdowns.”  That article is a living, breathing demonstration that everything the Republican governors who refused ObamaCare and successfully sued to not be forced to implement loudly predicted would happen as the federal government reimbursement rates would ultimately fail to keep up with the exorbitantly expensive costs of implementing ObamaCare.  As merely one example, Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal said back in 2013:

We will not allow President Obama to bully Louisiana into accepting an expansion of Obamacare.

We have rejected Obamacare’s Medicaid expansion in Louisiana because it would cost Louisiana taxpayers up to $1.7 billion over the next ten years and move nearly 250,000 Louisianians from private coverage to Medicaid.

“The disastrous rollout of Obamacare is a case in point that we don’t need top-down, one-size-fits-all federal mandates, and instead should continue to focus on health care solutions that make sense for Louisiana.

“Obamacare needs to be repealed. The dysfunction of the website and the President’s broken promises on being able to keep your health plan are just the tip of the iceberg in regards to the problems with this law.”

A grossly biased CNN Money article still managed to at least say this much about why Republican governors “stood their ideological ground”:

A number of governors, particularly in red states, have stood their ideological ground and chosen not to expand, citing concerns about the additional financial burden. The federal government will pay for 100% of the expansion for the first three years, then gradually reduce its subsidy to 90% by 2020.

Some governors have said that expansion would involve additional costs that they couldn’t afford and enlarge a program that they consider broken. In many states, however, various analyses show that states would stand to gain millions of dollars by expanding the program, at least initially.

The article I cite above detailing the collapse of the health delivery system in Kentucky begins:

LEXINGTON, Ky. — While Kentucky has gained national prominence as the only Southern state to fully embrace Obamacare, its hospitals say the law has left them facing billions of dollars in cuts and forced them to lay off staff, shut down services and worry for their financial health and, in some cases, survival.

The Kentucky Hospital Association outlined its concerns in a report released Friday called “Code Blue,” saying payment cuts to hospitals are expected to reach nearly $7 billion through 2024. “Kentucky hospitals will lose more money under the Affordable Care Act than they gain in revenue from expanded coverage,” it said, experiencing a net loss of $1 billion by 2020.

“This report provides the real picture of what our hospitals are facing,” KHA President Mike Rust said during a press conference at the Lexington Convention Center, where the group was holding its annual convention. The Medicaid expansion has given many residents health coverage that has brought new money into hospitals, but “the rest of the story is the cuts.”

Hospitals are suffering a net loss, officials said, partly because about three-quarters of newly-insured Kentuckians signed up for Medicaid, which reimburses hospitals less than it costs to treat patients. Nationally, the Congressional Budget Office projected half of newly-insured patients would have private insurance. But Kentucky is a poor state, so most people who signed up for Obamacare — officially the Affordable Care Act — have qualified for expanded Medicaid, which covers those earning less than 138 percent of the federal poverty level, or about $33,000 for a family of four.

You just watch how the biased USA Today that wrote off Kentucky’s dilemma as being the result of being “a poor state” fails to understand how EVERY state will ultimately be a “poor state” under ObamaCare.  As an example based on something called a “fact,” consider California.  An article from Covered California – ObamaCare in California – touted that “495,073 people selected health plans during the open-enrollment period ending Feb. 22, 2015.”  It points out the fact that “Nearly nine out of every 10 new enrollees qualified for some level of financial help for 2015,” which means that SOMEBODY ELSE is going to be forced to pay for them.  But here’s the real point: versus those 495,073 people who signed up for ObamaCare by the deadline, “Meanwhile, more than 779,000 consumers enrolled in Medi-Cal from Nov. 15 through Jan. 31. Medi-Cal enrollment continues year-round.”

That means that as of March 5, Medicare accounted for 61% of the total ObamaCare coverage.  And as the article points out, that enrollment continues and therefore continues to expand and grow – all year.  Which means by the end of the year you can damn well bloody BET that the total of Medicare enrollees will be 3/4s of all ObamaCare enrollees.  And nobody is calling California “a poor state.”  Which is another way of saying that the CBO was dreadfully wrong in its horribly flawed analysis.  ObamaCare is a depth charge that will sink and explode right in the bowels of our health care system and ultimately collapse it.

It’s kind of like that line from the movie Unforgiven where a hit man says of his victims, “Yeah, well, I guess they had it coming.”  And Will Munny points out the far grimmer truth – “We all got it coming, kid.”  Under ObamaCare, we’re ALL “poor states” now.  And we’ve ALL got it coming to us.

Another article points out the devastation that ObamaCare has actually been to actual health care:

After What 214,000 Doctors Just Did, Obamacare Could Be In Shambles
“The ‘Affordable’ Care Act is anything but…”
James Beattie October 30, 2014 at 11:25am

More than 214,000 doctors will not participate in new plans under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA).

According to a survey conducted this year by the Medical Group Management Association (MGMA), a trade association comprised of multi-physician medical practices, “as many as 214,524 American physicians will not be participating in any ACA exchange products.” Reasons abound as to why, but, “chief among them is the fact that exchange plans are more likely to offer significantly lower reimbursement rates than private market plans, confusion among consumers about the obligations associated with high deductibles, and fear that patients will stop paying premiums and providers will be unable to recover their losses”

This is a staggering number, considering the Kaiser Family Foundation reported there are 893,851 active physicians working in the United States.

It’s actually WORSE than doctors merely withdrawing from networks and refusing to provide treatment that would bankrupt them to provide as they lose money with every patient until they are out of business.  Doctors are getting out of medicine altogether as the Washington Times documented as early as 2013:

‘Obamacare’ health care reform ALREADY forcing doctors to close practices

We are facing a shortage of 45,000 primary care physicians, which is the choke point to all of the rest of health care.  Just for starters.  And just as conservatives like me were predicting all along as this wicked, demon-possessed monstrosity became law.

Someone has yet to explain to me how getting everybody a piece of paper that says they have “health insurance” but which means forcing hospitals to close and doctors to leave their health practices helps people get actual healthcare.  Doctors are not accepting these patients with their “ObamaCare.”  And as a result they are swamping the emergency rooms at a greater rate than ever before as the Washington Times documented –

Doctors say emergency room visits have increased since the advent of Obamacare, undercutting one of the key selling points of President Obama’s health care law, which was supposed to ensure a healthier population by pushing consumers to rely on their primary physicians rather than emergency trips to the hospital.

Three out of four ER doctors said they have seen a rise in the number of patients since January 2014, when Obamacare fully kicked in, according to a survey conducted by the American College of Emergency Physicians. More than a quarter of the doctors said they have seen a major surge, and 47 percent said the rise has been slight.

The doctors said they fear a spike in visits could overwhelm their resources: Seven out of 10 said their departments aren’t prepared for a significant increase in patient volume.

The biggest cause is a lack of primary care doctors to treat the increased number of patients with health care coverage, so the patients are turning to the emergency room instead — exactly what wasn’t supposed to happen.

– breaking Obama’s promises.  In just ONE dishonest speech for his dishonest ObamaCare takeover of our once-great health care system, Obama said:

And these stories were personal for me, because I remember my mother worrying about how she was going to deal with her finances when she got very sick.  I remember the fear Michelle and I felt when Sasha was a few months old and she got meningitis.  And we raced to the hospital and they had to give her a spinal tap.  And we didn’t know what was wrong and we were terrified, never felt so scared or helpless in all of my life.  But we were fortunate enough to have good health insurance.

And I remember looking around that emergency room and thinking — what about the parents who aren’t that lucky?  What about the parents who get hit with a bill of $20,000 or $30,000 and they’ve got no idea how to pay for it?  What about those parents whose kids have a chronic illness like asthma and have to keep on going back to the emergency room because they don’t have a regular doctor, and the bills never stop coming?  Who is going to stand up for them?

And in that same speech he again said:

All told, since I signed the Affordable Care Act into law, we have seen the slowest growth in health care costs on record.  (Applause.)

[…]

Right?  Now, the reason we do that is, when uninsured people who can afford to get health insurance don’t, and then they get sick or they get hit by a car, and they show up at the emergency room, who do you think pays for that?

AUDIENCE:  We do.

THE PRESIDENT:  You do, in the form of higher premiumsBecause the hospitals, they’ve got to get their money back somehow.  So if they’re treating somebody who doesn’t have health insurance, they jack up premiums for everybody who does have health insurance.  It’s like a hidden tax of $1,000 per family every year who has got health insurance.  So we’re saying that’s not fair.  If you can afford to get health insurance, don’t dump the costs on us.  The law also requires employers with more than 50 employees to either provide health insurance for your workers or pay a penalty.

So let me ask you Obama’s question with this twist: when ObamaCare forces millions of patients into the emergency rooms he falsely sold his ObamaCare as preventing from happening, WHO PAYS FOR IT???  Emergency room care is THE most cost-inefficient system there IS because it is designed to be for EMERGENCIES.  And when you have a surgeon who is trained to deal with traumatic amputations dealing with a kid’s runny nose, you are bankrupting the system.  You are forcing hospitals to close down or get rid of needed staff to stay in business.

And the ONLY people who have fought to keep people from having no other freaking option for health care but to go to the ermgency rooms that massively add to the cost burden of providing health care were REPUBLICANS who pointed out Obama’s lies.

What has ObamaCare done to hospitals?

Obamacare Forcing Rural Hospitals to Close
Sunday, 15 Mar 2015 07:39 PM
By Greg Richter

The Affordable Care act is having a devastating impact on already strapped rural hospitals, playing a role in many of them shutting their doors, The Washington Post reports.

Forty-eight rural hospitals have closed since 2010 and 283 are in danger, the Post quotes the National Rural Health Association as saying. Most of the shuttered hospitals are in the South.

Other factors are contributing to the problem, but Obamacare is cited as the main reason. The law reduced Medicare payments and how much hospitals are paid for uninsured patients.

The law assumed states would increase Medicaid to cover the gap, but many states did not.

Another factor caused by Obamacare: insurance plans with deductibles so high that people opt to skip some care they previously received. Fewer visits mean less revenue.

As goes ObamaCare, so goes the nation.  That is because health care is one-sixth of the U.S. economy.  And we are so economically weakened that you can’t collapse that one-sixth and not have the other five-sixths go into the toilet bowl with it.

Obama lied.  He sold you the lie that having some piece of paper that said you have health insurance means you have health care even though his vile system has forced doctors out of the networks, forced them to leave medicine altogether, forced hospitals to close down, forced hospitals to fire key medical staff to stay open.  He lied like a demon over and over and over again to sell you what he wanted to impose on you and damn the consequences of his lies.  But we live in the last days before the coming of the beast, and these days are marked by deception and an outright hatred of and contempt for the truth.  And so being right is actually a grave political liability these days.

Our economy is a sham.  Our undemployment rate is an outright lie.  Our unemployment rate is going down ONLY because of the dishonest way with which it is measured.  It does NOT count people who are not working; it ONLY counts people who are actively seeking jobs and using state and federal agencies and benefits.  Which is why we have the following state of affairs:

CHRIS WALLACE, FOX NEWS SUNDAY: We could continue this conversation and I’m sure we will, but let’s turn to the economy and some really disappointing numbers on the economy this week. Here they are. Only 126,000 jobs were added in March. That’s the weakest hiring in 15 months. Labor force participation dropped to 62.7 percent, matching the lowest since 1978. And the Federal Reserve Bank in Atlanta estimates first quarter growth at zero, zero percent, flat. George, what’s going on here?

GEORGE WILL, SYNDICATED COLUMNIST: Well, for the second year in a row they’ve blamed poor quarterly growth on insufficient global warming, that is on winter, on an unusually cold winter. Let your mind go back to November last year. There was job creation of 321,000 jobs and the administration said this is a miraculous achievement and a harbinger of things to come. It wasn’t a harbinger and it wasn’t miraculous. During the Reagan recovery there were 23 months of job creation over 300,000. Reagan had a month of job creation of 1 million and this was at a time when there were 75 million fewer Americans. Now, never mind zero growth. We are now being told really that two percent growth may be the new normal. If so, that’s a disaster because every day, today, yesterday, tomorrow, every day between now and 2030, 10,000 more baby boomers become eligible for Social Security and Medicare. If we have two percent growth, the crisis of the welfare state, the crisis of the private sector being able to throw off the revenues, to pay the bills for the promises we’ve made to ourselves becomes impossible.

WALLACE: Just tell again that the labor force participation stat that you have, if it were what it was at the beginning of the Obama administration.

WILL: If the workforce participation rate today were as high as it was on the day Barack Obama was inaugurated, the unemployment rate in this country would be 9.7 percent, we wouldn’t be complaining about the bad recovery because we wouldn’t call it a recovery

The labor participation rate measures the percentage of working-age Americans with jobs.  And I have documented year after year the rapist Obama has been to actual JOB CREATION.

But again, those are simply facts.  And facts are the most useless things in modern America.  Because we have become a bad, toxic, wicked people who prefer lies to the truth and who will not accept the truth.

We don’t have anywhere NEAR enough Americans working to support the massive and increasing-in-size tsunami of people who don’t have jobs and frankly don’t particularly care that much that they don’t have jobs because they’re parasites who demand and who have been trained by Democrats to demand that OTHER people support them even as they have been trained to blame and hate the very people who are supporting them.

Our economy is a shell game.  We face debts that can’t even be compared to a mountain anymore, they are so massive and so high and steep and so staggering and so dangerous.

We hear our debt is $18 trillion now.  Notwithstanding that Barack Obama was a truly demon-possessed hypocrite and slandering liar when he viciously attacked George Bush when it was nine trillion –

“The problem is, is that the way Bush has done it over the last eight years is to take out a credit card from the Bank of China in the name of our children, driving up our national debt from $5 trillion for the first 42 presidents – #43 added $4 trillion by his lonesome, so that we now have over $9 trillion of debt that we are going to have to pay back — $30,000 for every man, woman and child. That’s irresponsible. It’s unpatriotic.” — Barack Obama, 3 July 2008

– our actual debt is so far beyond $18 trillion it’s not even FUNNY.  Try this figure for size: $127 trillion (which is just unfunded liabilities and which doesn’t even bother to COUNT the $18 trillion):

The federal unfunded liabilities are catastrophic for future taxpayers and economic growth. At usdebtclock.org, federal unfunded liabilities are estimated at near $127 trillion, which is roughly $1.1 million per taxpayer and nearly double 2012’s total world output.

I submit that the actual figure is higher than that, northward of $222 trillion.  We are a broken nation with a broken financial system covering up its nakedness with flimsy paper that will blow away on a cold day when the wind is howling and leave us with nothing but poverty and devastation and rioting such as the world has never seen.

Even now, our interest payments on our massive debt are guaranteed to skyrocket and leave us crippled and unable to pay for anywhere NEAR the commitments we have made.  But it gets worse.

One day, soon, the United States’ status as the U.S. dollar being the Reserve Currency of planet earth will be terminated.  And we will be devastated overnight.  We can recklessly, wickedly borrow more and more and more money to finance the Democrat Party’s and Barack Obama’s socialism for only so long.  We can’t pay for it.  It’s insane that we keep doing it.  One day we will go to bed with all the talking heads saying everything will be okay and we will wake up to complete ruin.  As we speak, all the top economic nations below us – and above us, given the fact that China has under Obama topped the United States as the #1 economy are agitating to topple that status won as a result of World War II being yanked away.  One day, soon, it WILL be.

We are a morally collapsed nation that will soon economically collapse and we will then see the true wickedness and greed and bitterness and hate come out that I see already present in this nation that was once based on “In God We Trust” as “one nation, under God” but now exists to glorify and worship homosexual sodomy and the murder by abortion of more than sixty million of our own most innocent Americans in the Holocaust-dwarfing abortion mills of the Democrat Party.

56,125,262 human beings on all sides of the war, both civilian and military, perished in the bloodiest war in the history of the human race, World War II.  And under Obama and 100 percent because of the Democrat Party Holocaust machine America has murdered more of its own most innocent human beings than that godawful, vicious, vile war could.  And God is going to hold us to account for it.  You read Psalm 139 and you tell me I’m wrong.  Because your only logical option if you want to defend abortion is to stick your middle finger up at God and declare that you WELCOME His wrath on your head and on the heads of your children.  And it’s coming.

You read Romans chapter one and you tell me that the Barack Obama betrayal on marriage and the Democrat Party’s depraved homosexual SODOMY of the marriage that was instituted by GOD isn’t the trigger for God’s wrath against a sick society.  If you bother to READ God’s Word, your only logical option if you want to defend the perversion of homosexuality is to stick your middle finger up at God and declare that you WELCOME His wrath on your head and on the heads of your children.

But that collapse isn’t merely going to be economic.  We’re seeing that now, too.

Barack Obama has utterly failed to keep America safe from the threat of Islamic terrorism, even going to the insane extent of denying such a threat even EXISTS.

Now, as Obama’s spiritual mentor and former pastor for 23 years who infamously screamed “No, no, NO!  NOT God bless America!  God DAMN America!” once put it: “our chickens have come home to roost.”

We are FAR more vulnerable to jihadist terrorism than we have ever been thanks to Obama’s lies, thanks to his “JV Team” analogy that dismissed a clearly metastasizing threat to America, thanks to his “Osama bin Laden in dead and al Qaeda is on the run” lies.

I turn to yet another dismaying recent development: the shocking, catastrophic defeat that the United States is now suffering in Iraq and will almost certainly suffer soon in Afghanistan.  Only a couple of years ago, our nation’s leaders were claiming credit for “decimating” al Qaeda and saying that the terrorists were on the run.  Since 2010 there has been a 58% increase in the number of terror groups – and the number of jihadists have DOUBLED.  Al Qaeda is larger, stronger and controls more territory than at any time in history.  And an organization that is universally recognized as being even WORSE than al Qaeda – the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria or ISIS – has now created the caliphate in the heart of the Middle East that Osama bin Laden dreamed of.  Back in 2005, US intelligence captured a letter from the top al Qaeda leadership that put the aims of al Qaeda into four stages: 1) Drive America out of Iraq; 2) create a caliphate; 3) use that as a base to attack the United States and other countries; 4) attack Israel.  And we have watched them succeed beyond all of the worst possible scenarios.  They’re coming right back at us and we’re now far too weary, weak and divided to fight them.

The FBI director’s terrifying warning that yeah, they ARE coming after us in terrifying numbers:

There may be as many as thousands of people inside the United States consuming online “poison” from ISIS alone, and, “I know there are other Elton Simpsons out there,” FBI director James Comey warned today, referring to one of the men who opened fire outside of an event in Texas earlier this week celebrating artists’ portrayals of the Prophet Mohammad.

“We have a very hard task” in trying to identify and stop anyone inspired to launch an attack inside the U.S. homeland, Comey told ABC News’ Pierre Thomas and a small group of reporters.

Such efforts have become particularly challenging because ISIS has reconfigured and redefined terrorist recruitment, according to Comey. In fact, while the FBI is trying to find that so-called needle in a haystack, “increasingly the needles are invisible to us,” he said.

As recently as two years ago, someone in the United States who wanted to consume “radical poisonous propaganda” would have to seek that out on the Internet, most likely on a jihadist web forum. So the FBI focused its investigative efforts on those jihadist web forums, Comey said.

But “that has changed dramatically, especially with [ISIS] and their use of social media,” where on phones in people’s pockets they ask Americans and other foreigners “to travel to the so-called caliphate to fight” but simultaneously say, “If you can’t travel, kill where you are,” according to Comey.

“It’s almost as if there is a devil sitting on the shoulder saying, ‘Kill, kill, kill, kill’ all day long,” he said. “[They are] recruiting and tasking at the same time. … In a way, the old paradigm between ‘inspired’ and ‘directed’ breaks down here.”

And with that distinction “no longer relevant,” is it all the more challenging for the FBI to determine whether someone seeking jihadist propaganda online or even promoting themselves is “a talker or a doer,” as Comey described it.

And their talk is “fundamentally transforming” into ACTION to kill Americans wherever they are.

The sober and despicable fact that our intelligent resources are no so inadequate that a jihadist preparing to launch a violent attack against America can now openly and brazenly boast online about his mission for Allah without our now inadequate system even KNOWING about it:

The official, who would speak about the continuing investigation only on condition of anonymity, said that although Mr. Simpson had long been under F.B.I. scrutiny, he had not appeared to be preparing for violence. “There are so many like him that you have to prioritize your investigations,” the official said.

The Secretary of Homeland Security’s sober warning:

Sunday on ABC’s “This Week,” Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson said America is dealing with a “new environment” in which a lone-wolf terrorist could “strike at any moment.”

Johnson said, “We’re very definitely in a new environment, because of ISIS’s effective use of social media, the Internet, which has the ability to reach into the homeland and possibly inspire others.”

“Because of the use of the Internet, we could have little or no notice in advance of an independent actor attempting to strike.”

He added, “We’re very definitely in a new phase in the global terrorist threat where the so-called lone wolf could strike at any moment. Which is why the FBI, in my judgment, has done an excellent job of getting to those who are attempting to travel to Syria, who commit overt facts in furtherance of material support to terrorism. It is a new environment, but we are not discouraging  Americans from doing the things that they do on a daily basis in our society.”

This is a pretense and a lie.  We’ve had the Internet for quite a long time now, ever since another Democrat liar named Al Gore claimed he’d invented the damn thing about 20 years ago.  This isn’t because of the internet any more than our godawful economy is the result of “inadequate global warming” a.k.a. winter; this is the result of an epic fail of a president who has placed FAR more resources into climate change than he has on the actual war while he literally claimed he’d WON the war that he claimed didn’t even exist in the first place.

The Chairman of the House Committee on Homeland Security points out that under Obama terrorism has grown viral:

Top U.S. officials and lawmakers on Sunday intensified concerns about the growing threat of jihad-inspired terror attacks against the United States, after last week’s attempt in Texas and the dire FBI warning that followed.

“I think there’s been an uptick in the stream of threats out there,” Texas GOP Rep. Mike McCaul, chairman of the House Committee on Homeland Security, told “Fox News Sunday.” “We’re seeing these directives on almost a daily basis. It’s very concerning. Terrorism has gone viral.”

Mind you, we’re not even prepared to handle actual viruses anymore as this administration continues to fail its most basic duty to its people.

Do you know what I’ve noticed?  I’ve watched snippets of the Islamic State’s recruiting videos as they’ve been presented on the news.  And I’ve noticed a striking similarity to the violent video games that dominate our culture.  The graininess, the colors, watching these Islamic State videos is like playing a video game.  They’re beaming it into the heads of American kids who otherwise stand for nothing: you can actually LIVE your video game fantasies!  Just picture yourself standing on a tank firing the machine gun, oh yes, guns a’blazing in a hail of glory.  And they don’t give a flying damn if you kill for Allah or to live out your sick, twisted and violent video game fantasies.  They just want blood.

I’ve written about that: liberalism and secular humanism has produced a toxic, nihilistic generation that is characterized by cynicism, pessimism and a profound dislike of reality.  I wrote a nice two-part article that after you read you won’t be one bit surprised at the above popularity of American jihadism.

I’ve pointed out in past articles that our “strategy” for Islam is based on a lie that itself is based on a terrifying reality that if you follow the Qur’an and the actual teachings and life of Muhammad, YOU WILL BE A MURDEROUS TERRORIST just like Muhammad was.  I’ve also pointed out that there’s another terrifying reason why Democrats have been so determined to shelter these violent jihadists: that Democrats and Muslim terrorists alike ultimately want the same thing: a Government-as-God that has all power to decide/dictate who wins and who loses, who pays and who gets the wealth redistributed to them, who lives and who dies, who is good and who is evil.  And Democrats are actually the kind of colossal moral idiots who foolishly believe they can reason with these people, just as Obama is trying to foolishly and wickedly do with Iran over its nuclear program.

And all Obama has been able to do is blame Christianity.  After all, didn’t Christians do something like a thousand years ago?  So why mention what Muslims did last night?  Obama is a true moral coward who is only capable of pumping out moral equivocation to actually JUSTIFY jihadism for the wrongs we did to them notwithstanding the whole thousand-years-ago thing.

I have pointed out that the secular humanism of Barack Hussein Obama and the Democrat Party ultimately stand for NOTHING.  They have no transcendent moral values and no transcendent beliefs worth fighting and dying for.  They will negotiate and compromise and surrender because that’s all they have and all they ever WILL have.

And we’re seeing right now that the only people liberals WILL fight are their fellow Americans as they strive to incite every possible issue into a new reason to riot, to undermine America, to tear this nation apart on the basis of race, of gender, of sexual preference, of income class, of you name it, in their search for a political coalition that they can exploit toward more political power.

We’re going to collapse because God isn’t God if we DON’T collapse.  We’re going to collapse because our vote for Obama, our vote for homosexual marriage, our vote for the murder of sixty million innocent babies, was a VOTE to collapse.  We’re going to collapse because America isn’t IN Bible prophecy and either won’t exist or won’t be relevant in any way, shape or form in the last days.  Because unlike any other nation, we once uniquely made a covenant with God and we broke that covenant and God is going to hold us to account for our betrayal.  We’re going to collapse because the beast is coming.

But mark my words: we are GOING to collapse.  And it will be entirely from within because it was from within and the depravity within our own hearts that we destroyed ourselves.

 

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Yet Another Outright LIE: Obama Sold ObamaCare Under Promise That People Would Stop Going To Emergency Rooms For Treatment

January 13, 2014

The title of the following article says it all: the whole point of “fundamentally transforming” medicine into SOCIALIZED medicine was a lie.

1/02/2014 @ 2:30PM |Avik Roy, Forbes Staff
New Oregon Data: Expanding Medicaid Increases Usage Of Emergency Rooms, Undermining Central Rationale For Obamacare

For years, it has been the number one talking point of Obamacare supporters. People who are uninsured end up getting costly care from hospitals’ emergency rooms. “Those of us with health insurance are also paying a hidden and growing tax for those without it—about $1,000 per year that pays for [the uninsureds’] emergency room and charitable care,” said President Obama in 2009. Obamacare, the President told us, would solve that problem by covering the uninsured, thereby driving premiums down. A new study, published in the journal Science, definitively reaches the opposite conclusion. In Oregon, people who gained coverage through Medicaid used the emergency room 40 percent more than those who were uninsured.

The ‘free rider’ argument was always bunk

Just like the “if you like your plan, you can keep your plan” promise, the promise that Obamacare would make health care less expensive by expanding coverage was always a crock. Nationally, it’s estimated that we spend about $50 billion a year on uncompensated care for the uninsured. But Obamacare spends $250 billion a year of taxpayer money on covering the uninsured. Only in Washington is spending $250 billion to address a $50 billion problem considered “savings.”

In Massachusetts, under Romneycare, the math worked out in a similar way. The Bay State spent $661 million on uncompensated care in the year before Romneycare went into effect; by the 2009 fiscal year, that figure had decreased to $414 million: a savings of $247 million. But in 2011, the cost of the state’s insurance subsidy program was $830 million, and that doesn’t even count the tab paid by the federal government for the state’s expansion of Medicaid.

Did emergency-room usage in Massachusetts decline because of all this extra money? The opposite. ER visits actually rose by 7 percent between 2005 and 2007, and the state’s costs for caring for ER patients rose 17 percent between 2007 and 2009.

And one of the big holes in the myth of uninsured “free riders” is that the uninsured only account for 15 percent of the population, 14 percent of total ER visits, and 12 percent of aggregate ER expenditures, according to a study by the Kaiser Family Foundation. Medicaid beneficiaries, by contrast, accounted for 9 percent of the population, 15 percent of visits, and 9 percent of expenses.

Given all of this data and experience, it was obvious that expanding coverage through Obamacare would increase taxpayer costs, not reduce them. But predictably, the pro-Obamacare “fact-checkers,” like those at PolitiFact, have been nowhere to be found.

The latest data from the Oregon Medicaid experiment

Along come economists Amy Finkelstein of MIT and Kate Baicker of Harvard, who have been participating in the now-famous Oregon Medicaid experiment. Regular readers of The Apothecary will recall that this study compared a group of Oregonians who were uninsured, and stayed that way, to a group who had “won” a lottery to enroll in Medicaid. The study found that Medicaid “generated no significant improvement in measured physical health outcomes,” a finding that reinforces extensive published research. (I also discuss this research in my new book, How Medicaid Fails The Poor.)

Finkelstein and Baicker, in their new Science article, looked at emergency-room records for 24,646 residents of the Portland, Oregon area, spanning 12 regional hospitals, who had participated in the Medicaid experiment. The study was co-authored by Sarah Taubman of the National Bureau of Economic Research; Heidi Allen of the Columbia School of Social Work; and Bill Wright of Oregon’s Portland Medical Center. The authors found, as they had previously, that the subgroup that had gained coverage under Medicaid showed no improvement in the management of their chronic medical problems, such as high cholesterol, high blood pressure, and diabetes.

They also found that those on Medicaid used the emergency room 40 percent more than the uninsured did—1.43 ER visits per Medicaid enrollee, as against 1.02 for the uninsured. More to the point, a majority of the emergency room visits were unnecessary, because they involved conditions that could easily have been managed outside of the ER.

Of the 0.41-per-person increase in visits, 0.18 were “primary care treatable,” meaning they didn’t require ER care. 0.12 didn’t even qualify as emergency care. 0.04 did qualify as emergency issues, but could have been prevented by adequate primary care. The Medicaid-driven increases in each of these categories was statistically significant, meaning that the differences were large enough that they are highly unlikely to be statistical noise.

Medicaid-ER-2014

Medicaid is, in effect, designed to increase emergency-room usage

Why does Medicaid perform so poorly, given that we spend so much money on it—$450 billion a year? Because of fundamental flaws in the way the program was designed.

The authors of the 1965 Medicaid legislation believed that it was morally wrong to expect poor people to pay even modest sums for their own health care. So the law mandates that cost-sharing features, like co-pays, of Medicaid plans must be minimal to zero for both primary care coverage and emergency-room usage.

Because Medicaid was nearly free to the program’s enrollees, those enrollees ended up seeking—and receiving—lots of inappropriate care. That led to massive cost overruns that, even today, are bankrupting state governments. But states have had little flexibility to reform Medicaid’s cost-sharing features. The one thing they have been able to do is pay doctors and hospitals less and less to provide the same care.

That trend, in turn, has led many doctors to stop accepting new Medicaid patients. So it’s extremely difficult for Medicaid enrollees to get appointments with primary care physicians. They have to spend weeks on the phone to find someone who will treat them.

Put yourself in the shoes of that Medicaid enrollee. Why would you bother calling primary care docs all day and all week, if you can go to the emergency room and get the same care for the same price? So that’s what Medicaid patients do.

And then, consider that Medicaid pays hospitals far less than private insurers pay for the same care. Many hospitals say that they lose money on every Medicaid patient they see. But somehow, if we have more Medicaid patients, taxpayers will be better off?

It was bunk in 2009, and it’s bunk today. It’s why the states that have chosen to forego Obamacare’s Medicaid expansion were wise to do so. Governors and legislators who have ignored the data, and burdened generations of future taxpayers with this failed program, have a lot of explaining to do.

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Avik’s new book, How Medicaid Fails the Poor, is now available in paperback, Kindle, and iBooks versions.

Follow @Avik on Twitter, Google+, and YouTube, and The Apothecary on Facebook.

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*    *    *

UPDATE: Some more details on the study, for those who are interested. The twelve hospitals in the study encompassed “nearly half of all inpatient hospital admissions in Oregon.” The period observed was approximately 18 months—from March 10, 2008 to September 30, 2009. There were “no statistically significant differences between the groups in demographic characteristics measured at the time of lottery sign-up.” As noted above, the increase in ER usage “from Medicaid is solely in outpatient visits…Medicaid statistically significantly increases visits in all classifications except for the ‘emergent, non-preventable’ category. The increases are most pronounced in those classified as ‘primary care treatable.’”

For a longer list of the President’s repeated promise that Obamacare would reduce emergency-room usage, read Michael Cannon‘s take on the study.

INVESTORS’ NOTE: Among the biggest publicly-traded players in Obamacare’s expansion of Medicaid are Molina (NYSE:MOH), WellPoint (NYSE:WLP), WellCare (NYSE:WCG), Centene (NYSE:CNC), and Humana (NYSE:HUM).

Keep in mind that the overwhelming majority of those who are getting “health insurance” under ObamaCare are being thrown into Medicaid.  And keep in mind that having Medicaid is statistically no better than having no insurance at all in terms of health or longevity due to the crappy care of your new ObamaCare program.

People are waking up to the “sticker shock” of ObamaCare.  Whether or not they can afford the premiums is completely irrelevant when the average deductible PER FAMILY MEMBER is OVER $5,000 a year.  If you can’t afford that, you are for all purposes UNINSURED whether you have a stupid little card from Obama in your wallet or not.

Add to that the fact that the ObamaCare networks are unbelievably small and limited.  There are few doctors available for way, WAY, WAAAAYYY to many patients.  And if you want a specialist because the pain pill Obama wants you to take instead of treatment isn’t quite enough for you, well, I’d say “good luck” but even that would be overly optimistic.

The purpose behind ObamaCare was “to control the people.”  The purpose was to restrict health care to the masses.

It is by now beyond a joke to try to count how many times Barack Hussein Obama was caught in an outright lie in his effort to deceive the American people and impose his wicked worldview on what used to be the greatest nation in the history of the world.  Or how many different lies he told.

ObamaCare Prescription For Health System Has Many Deadly Side Effects

March 30, 2010

I’m sure you’ve seen those TV ads for prescription drugs that are offered to treat a relatively minor problem, but then come with a long list of nasty side effects that make one wonder why anybody would take that drug.  The prescription seems far worse than the disease.

To put it in a nutshell, ObamaCare is rather like Saturday Night Live’s “Happy Fun Ball.”  It isn’t FUN like Happy Fun Ball, of course, but it does have that same list of toxic and deadly side effects that  just goes on and on.

A dramatic re-enactment of the SNL Happy Fun Ball commercial:

Happy Fun Ball, fun as it was, had just a few side effects:

Warning: Pregnant women, the elderly and children under 10 should avoid prolonged exposure to Happy Fun Ball.

Caution: Happy Fun Ball may suddenly accelerate to dangerous speeds.

Happy Fun Ball Contains a liquid core, which, if exposed due to rupture, should not be touched, inhaled, or looked at.

Do not use Happy Fun Ball on concrete.

Discontinue use of Happy Fun Ball if any of the following occurs:
Itching
Vertigo
Dizziness
Tingling in extremities
Loss of balance or coordination
Slurred speech
Temporary blindness
Profuse sweating
Heart palpitations

If Happy Fun Ball begins to smoke, get away immediately. Seek shelter and cover head.

Happy Fun Ball may stick to certain types of skin.

When not in use, Happy Fun Ball should be returned to its special container and kept under refrigeration…

Failure to do so relieves the makers of Happy Fun Ball, Wacky Products Incorporated, and its parent company Global Chemical Unlimited, of any and all liability.

Ingredients of Happy Fun Ball include an unknown glowing substance which fell to Earth, presumably from outer space.

Happy Fun Ball has been shipped to our troops in Saudi Arabia and is also being dropped by our warplanes on Iraq.

Do not taunt Happy Fun Ball.

Happy Fun Ball comes with a lifetime guarantee.

Happy Fun Ball

ACCEPT NO SUBSTITUTES!

We have to worry about ObamaCare exploding, too, and taking our entire economy and society out with it.  ObamaCare will definitely accelerate to dangerous costs.  And we all KNOW it’s dangerous to taunt ObamaCare.

Heritage figured out that ObamaCare needed it’s own Happy Fun Ball sendoff-style commercial:

Here’s some of the ObamaBall side effects:

  • Job loss
  • Higher premiums
  • Higher costs
  • Higher taxes
  • Medicare cuts
  • Medicaid expansion
  • Losing the plan you like
  • Special backroom deals
  • Small business penalties
  • Denial of pre-existing conditions (until 2014, even for kids)
  • Future government rationing
  • Investment penalties
  • Loss of state authority
  • Higher deficits
  • Higher debt
  • Individual mandates with penalties

Kind of puts the side effects of Happy Fun Ball to shame, if you ask me.

Heritage has quite a bit more on the side effects of ObamaCare.

I’m sure you can’t wait to “bounce” through the 159 new federal agencies ObamaBall creates, or to ping-and-pong off the 16,500 new IRS agents ObamaBall will send reigning down on you.

That’s the kind of “fun” that ObamaBall promises.

A Summary of the Government Takeover of Health Care

November 1, 2009

This is a prepared House Republican document which you can view as a PDF file here.

House Democrat Health “Reform” Legislation: Short Summary of the Government Takeover of Health Care

October 29, 2009


BACKGROUND AND EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

On October 29, 2009, Speaker Pelosi and the House Democrat leadership introduced H.R. 3962, the Affordable Health Care for America Act. The legislation combines provisions in the versions of H.R. 3200, America’s Affordable Health Choices Act, approved by the Committees on Education and Labor, Energy and Commerce, and Ways and Means, as well as other provisions negotiated behind closed doors by the Democrat leadership. The bill is expected on the floor the week of November 2, under a likely structured rule. While press reports indicate the bill will cost at least $894 billion, a CBO score is not yet available, and the following analysis will be updated as events warrant.

Buried within the contents of the 1,990 page bill—as well as a separate 13-page bill (H.R. 3961) that would increase the deficit by more than $200 billion—are details that will see a massive federal involvement in the health care of every American, including the following:

• Creation of a government-run insurance program that could cause as many as 114 million Americans to lose their current coverage;
• Abolition of the private market for individual health insurance, forcing individuals to purchase coverage in a government-run Exchange;
• Stifling insurance regulations that would raise premiums and encourage employers to drop coverage;
• Trillions of dollars in new federal spending that will exacerbate the deficit and imperil the nation’s long-term fiscal solvency;
• Taxes on all Americans—individuals who purchase insurance, individuals who do not purchase insurance, and millions of small businesses—that will kill jobs and raise health care premiums; and
• Cuts to Medicare Advantage plans that will result in higher premiums and dropped coverage for more than 10 million seniors.

SUMMARY OF KEY PROVISIONS
The Government Takeover

Creation of Exchange: The bill creates within the federal government a nationwide Health Insurance Exchange. Uninsured individuals would be eligible to purchase an Exchange plan, as would those whose existing employer coverage is deemed “insufficient” by the federal government. Once deemed eligible to enroll in the Exchange, individuals would be permitted to remain in the Exchange until becoming Medicare-eligible—a provision that would likely result in a significant movement of individuals into the bureaucrat-run Exchange over time. Employers with 25 or fewer employees would be permitted to join the Exchange in its first year, with employers with 25-50 employees permitted to join in its second year. Employers with fewer than 100 employees would be permitted to enroll in the third year, and all employers would also be eligible to join, if permitted to do so by the Commissioner. Many may note the limits on employer eligibility in the first several years are significantly higher than in H.R. 3200, thus expanding the scope of the government-run Exchange.

Exchange Benefit Standards: The bill requires the Commissioner to establish benefit standards for all plans. These onerous, bureaucrat-imposed standards would hinder the introduction of innovative models to improve enrollees’ health and wellness—and by insulating individuals from the cost of health services with restrictive cost-sharing, could raise health care costs.

Government-Run Health Plans: The bill requires the Department of Health and Human Services to establish a “public health insurance option” through the Exchange. The bill states the plan shall comply with requirements related to other Exchange plans. Empowered to collect individuals’ personal health information, with access to federal courts for enforcement actions and $2 billion in “start-up funds”—as well as 90 days’ worth of premiums as “reserves”—from the Treasury, the bill’s headings regarding a “level playing field” belie the reality of the plain text. In addition, the bill requires the Secretary to establish premium rates that can fully finance the cost of benefits and administrative costs, but there would always be the implicit backing of the federal government.

The bill provides that the government-run plan shall enlist all Medicare providers unless physicians affirmatively decide to opt-out of the program. While the Secretary will be required to “negotiate” reimbursement rates with doctors and hospitals, nothing in the bill prohibits the Secretary from using such negotiation to impose Medicare reimbursement levels on providers as part of a government-imposed “negotiation.” Should such a scenario occur, the Lewin Group has estimated that as many as 114 million individuals could lose access to their current coverage under a government-run plan—and that a government-run plan reimbursing at the rates contemplated by the legislation would actually result in a net $16,207 decrease in reimbursements per physician per year, even after accounting for the newly insured.

The bill requires the Secretary to “establish conditions of participation for health care providers” under the government-run plan—however it includes no guidance or conditions under which the Secretary must establish those conditions. Many may be concerned that the bill would allow the Secretary to prohibit doctors from participating in other health plans as a condition of participation in the government-run plan—a way to co-opt existing provider networks and subvert private health coverage.

“Low-Income” Subsidies: The bill provides subsidies only through the Exchange, again putting employer health plans at a disadvantage. Individuals with access to employer-sponsored insurance whose group premium costs exceed 12 percent of adjusted gross income would be eligible for subsidies.

The bill provides that the Commissioner may authorize State Medicaid agencies—as well as other “public entit[ies]”—to make determinations of eligibility for subsidies and exempts the subsidy regime from the five-year waiting period on federal benefits established as part of the 1996 welfare reform law (P.L. 104-193). The second provision would give individuals a strong incentive to emigrate to the United States in order to obtain subsidized health benefits without a waiting period. Despite the bill’s purported prohibition on payments to immigrants not lawfully present, and the insertion of a citizenship verification provision, some may be concerned that the provisions as drafted would not require individuals to verify their identity when confirming eligibility for subsidies—encouraging identity fraud while still permitting undocumented immigrants and other ineligible individuals from obtaining taxpayer-subsidized benefits.

Premium subsidies provided would be determined on a six-tier sliding scale, such that individuals with incomes under 133 percent of the Federal Poverty Level (FPL, $29,327 for a family of four in 2009) would be expected to pay 1.5 percent of their income, while individuals with incomes at 400 percent FPL ($88,200 for a family of four) would be expected to pay 12 percent of their income. Subsidies would be based on adjusted gross income (AGI), meaning that individuals with total incomes well in excess of the AGI threshold could qualify for subsidies.

The bill further provides for cost-sharing subsidies, such that individuals with incomes under 133 percent FPL would be covered for 97 percent of expenses, while individuals with incomes at 400 percent FPL would have a basic plan covering 70 percent (the statutory minimum). These rich benefit packages, in addition to raising subsidy costs for the federal government, would insulate plan participants from the effects of higher health spending, resulting in an increase in overall health costs—exactly the opposite of the bill’s purported purpose.

Medicaid Expansion: The bill would expand Medicaid to all individuals with incomes under 150 percent of the federal poverty level ($33,075 for a family of four). Under the bill, the bill’s expansion of Medicaid to more than 10 million individuals would be fully paid for by the federal government only through 2014—thus imposing billions in unfunded mandates on States, which would be expected to pay nearly 10 percent of the cost of the expansion beginning in 2015.

Benefits Committee: The bill establishes a new government health board called the “Health Benefits Advisory Committee” to make recommendations on minimum federal benefit standards and cost-sharing levels. The Committee would be comprised of federal employees and Presidential appointees.

The bill eliminates language in the discussion draft of H.R. 3200 stating that Committee should “ensure that essential benefits coverage does not lead to rationing of health care.” Many view this change as an admission that the bureaucrats on the Advisory Committee—and the new government-run health plan—would therefore deny access to life-saving services and treatments on cost grounds. As written, the Committee could require all Americans to obtain health insurance coverage of abortion procedures as part of the bill’s new individual mandate.

 

Funneling Patients into Government Care

Abolition of Private Insurance Market: The bill imposes new regulations on all health insurance offerings, with only limited exceptions. Existing individual market policies could remain in effect—but only so long as the carrier “does not change any of its terms and conditions, including benefits and cost-sharing” once the bill takes effect. With the exception of these grandfathered individual plans subject to numerous restrictions, insurance purchased on the individual market “may only be offered” until the Exchange comes into effect, thus abolishing the private market for individual health insurance and requiring all non-employer-based coverage to be purchased through the bureaucrat-run Exchange.

Employer coverage shall be considered exempt from the additional federal mandates, but only for a five year “grace period”—after which all the bill’s mandates shall apply. By applying new federal mandates and regulations to employer-sponsored coverage, this provision would increase health costs for businesses and their workers, encourage employers to drop existing coverage, and leave employees to access care through the government-run Exchange.

“Pay-or-Play” Mandate on Employers: The bill requires that employers offer health insurance coverage, and contribute to such coverage at least 72.5 percent of the cost of a basic individual policy—as defined by the Health Benefits Advisory Council—and at least 65 percent of the cost of a basic family policy, for full-time employees. The bill further extends the employer mandate to part-time employees, with contribution levels to be determined by the Commissioner, and mandates that any health care contribution “for which there is a corresponding reduction in the compensation of the employee” will not comply with the mandate—which would encourage them to lay off workers.

Employers must comply with the mandate by “paying” a tax of 8 percent of wages in lieu of “playing” by offering benefits that meet the criteria above. In addition, beginning in the Exchange’s second year, employers whose workers choose to purchase coverage through the Exchange would be forced to pay the 8 percent tax to finance their workers’ Exchange policy—even if they offer coverage to their workers.

The bill includes a limited exemption for small businesses from the employer mandate—those with total payroll under $500,000 annually would be exempt, and those with payrolls between $500,000 and
$750,000 would be subjected to lower tax penalties (2-6 percent, as opposed to 8 percent for firms with payrolls over $750,000). However, these limits are not indexed for inflation, and the threshold amounts would likely become increasingly irrelevant over time, meaning virtually all employers would be subjected to the 8 percent payroll tax.

The bill amends ERISA to require the Secretary of Labor to conduct regular plan audits and “conduct investigations” and audits “to discover non-compliance” with the mandate. The bill provides a further penalty of $100 per employee per day for non-compliance with the “pay-or-play” mandate—subject only to a limit of $500,000 for unintentional failures on the part of the employer.

The employer mandate would impose added costs on businesses with respect to both their payroll and administrative overhead. An economic model developed by Council of Economic Advisors Chair Christina Romer found that an employer mandate could result in the loss of up to 5.5 million jobs as employers lay off employees to avoid providing costly, government-forced health insurance.

Individual Mandate: The bill places a tax on individuals who do not purchase “acceptable health care coverage,” as defined by the bureaucratic standards in the bill. The tax would constitute 2.5 percent of adjusted gross income, up to the amount of the national average premium through the Exchange. The tax would not apply to dependent filers, non-resident aliens, individuals resident outside the United States, and those exempted on religious grounds. “Acceptable coverage” includes qualified Exchange plans, “grandfathered” individual and group health plans, Medicare and Medicaid plans, and military and veterans’ benefits.

For individuals with incomes of under $100,000, the cost of complying with the mandate would be under $2,000—raising questions of how effective the mandate will be, as paying the tax would in many cases cost less than purchasing an insurance policy. Despite, or perhaps because of, this fact, the bill language does not include an affordability exemption from the mandate; thus, if the many benefit mandates imposed raise premiums so as to make coverage less affordable for many Americans, they will have no choice but to pay an additional tax as their “penalty” for not being able to afford coverage. Then-Senator Barack Obama, pointed out in a February 2008 debate that in Massachusetts, the one State with an individual mandate, “there are people who are paying fines and still can’t afford [health insurance], so now they’re worse off than they were. They don’t have health insurance and they’re paying a fine.”

Medicare Advantage: The bill reduces Medicare Advantage (MA) payment benchmarks to levels paid by traditional Medicare—which provides less care to seniors—over a three-year period. This arbitrary adjustment would reduce access for millions of seniors to MA plans that have brought additional benefits.

The bill imposes requirements on MA plans to offer cost-sharing no greater than that provided in government-run Medicare, and imposes price controls on MA plans, limiting their ability to offer innovative benefit packages. This policy would encourage plans to keep seniors sick, rather than manage their chronic disease.

The bill also gives the Secretary blanket authority to reject “any or every bid by an MA organization,” as well as any bid by a carrier offering private Part D Medicare prescription drug coverage, giving federal bureaucrats the power to eliminate the MA program entirely—by rejecting all plan bids for nothing more than the arbitrary reason that an Administration wishes to force the 10 million beneficiaries enrolled in MA back into traditional, government-run Medicare against their will.
Tax Increases

Government-Forced Insurance Penalties: Offsetting payments to finance the government takeover of health care would include taxes on individuals not complying with the mandate to purchase coverage, as well as taxes and payments by businesses associated with the “pay-or-play” mandate.

Taxes on Small Businesses: The bill also imposes a new 5.4 percent “surtax” on individuals with incomes over incomes over $500,000 and families with incomes greater than $1 million. The tax would apply beginning in 2011. As more than half of all high-income filers are small businesses, this provision would cripple small businesses and destroy jobs during a deep recession.

Taxes on Health Plans: The bill prohibits the reimbursement of over-the-counter pharmaceuticals from Health Savings Accounts (HSAs), Medical Savings Accounts, Flexible Spending Arrangements (FSAs), and Health Reimbursement Arrangements (HRAs), and increases the penalties for non-qualified HSA withdrawals from 10 percent to 20 percent, effective in 2011. Because these savings vehicles are tax-preferred, adopting this prohibition would raise taxes by $8.2 billion over ten years, according to the Joint Committee on Taxation.

H.R. 3962 would place a cap on FSA contributions, beginning in 2012; contributions could only total $2,500 per year, subject to annual adjustments linked to the growth in general (not medical) inflation. Members may be concerned that these provisions would first raise taxes, and second—by imposing additional restrictions on health savings vehicles popular with tens of millions of Americans—undermines the promise that “If you like your current coverage, you can keep it.” At least 8 million individuals hold insurance policies eligible for HSAs, and millions more participate in FSAs. All these individuals would be subject to additional coverage restrictions—and tax increases—under this provision.

The bill also repeals the current-law tax deductibility of subsidies provided to companies offering prescription drug companies to retirees. Many may be concerned that this provision would lead to companies dropping their current coverage as a result.

Taxes on Health Products: Finally, H.R. 3962 would impose a 2.5 percent excise tax on medical devices, beginning in 2013. Many may echo the concerns of the Congressional Budget Office and other independent experts, who have confirmed that this tax would be passed on to consumers in the form of higher prices—and ultimately higher premiums.
Budgetary Gimmicks

Unpaid-For Doctor Fix: While the Democrats claim their bill is now deficit-neutral, the majority also introduced a separate piece of stand-alone legislation (H.R. 3961). The more than $200 billion cost of this legislation is not paid for, thus adding hundreds of billions of dollars in deficit spending and interest costs to the federal debt. Many may also note that the Congressional Budget Office recently analyzed similar legislation (S. 1776) as raising Medicare premiums by $70 billion.

Long-Term Care Program: The bill includes a new program for long-term care services that provides a benefit of at least $50 per day to individuals unable to perform certain functions of daily living. As the long-term care program requires individuals to contribute five years’ worth of premiums before becoming eligible for benefits, the program would find its revenue over the first ten years diverted to finance other spending in Democrats’ health care “reform.” However, the Congressional Budget Office, in analyzing similar provisions included in Section 191 of legislation considered by the Senate HELP Committee, found that “if the Secretary did not modify the program to improve its actuarial soundness, the program would add to future federal budget deficits in a large and growing fashion beginning a few years beyond the 10-year budget window.” As even Democrats such as Senate Budget Committee Chairman Kent Conrad (D-ND) have called the program a “Ponzi scheme,” many may find any legislation that relies upon such a program to maintain “deficit-neutrality” fiscally irresponsible and not credible.