Who will pay the price?

October 26, 2009 by  

Baucus bill supporters claim cost estimates will be under $1 trillion ($829 billion) and over 10 years it will reduce the Federal deficit by $81 billion.  These numbers may be difficult for Americans to swallow, however, considering this…

Here is our Federal Government’s record on cost overruns for healthcare entitlement programs……Medicare’s predicted first year cost in 1965:  $12 billion; Actual first year cost:  $110 billion  –   Medicaid’s predicted first year costs:  $218 million; Actual first year cost:  $1 billion  –  Medicare hospitalization predicted costs in 1965: $9 billion; Actual: $67 billion  –  Medicaid hospitalization predicted costs in 1987: $1 billion; Actual: $17 billion.   

The bottom line?  Medicaid  costs 37 times more today than it did when launched – after adjusting for inflation. 

Who will pay?

1.     Medicare Patients?   

To find this $81 billion savings over the 10 years did you know Medicare cuts and tax hikes go into effect immediately, but benefits span only 7 and 1/2  years?  

2.     Privately Insured?

They say the Baucus plan will lower private insurance rates, but the recent PricewaterhouseCoopers study reports it would add some $1,700 a year to the cost of family coverage in 2013 and $4,000 more in ten years than if Congress did nothing.    Singles would pay about $1,500 more.  Those in the individual market would see the greatest rate increases – 49%.    And that’s doesn’t touch the 40% tax hike on so-called “cadillac” insurance plans.

3.     Middle Class Taxpayers?

Absolutely.  When insurance premiums inevitably climb because of new insurance regulations requiring, among other things, more mandated benefits for everyone and the eventual phase-out of less costly insurance options, fewer Americans will be able to afford them, which will necessitate more subsidies for more Americans (including those making up to $66,000/year).  Surcharges and tax hikes on higher income earners – including a majority of small business owners who file as individuals, will cost middle and low income Americans in the form of higher consumer prices, fewer jobs and lower wages.

4.     The States?     

Governors in at least 12 states, including Governor Brewer, warn that plans to force states to expand eligibility under state Medicaid (AHCCCS) programs would be, in Brewer’s words, “devastating…and an enormous unfunded entitlement mandate on the states.”  Already AHCCCS makes up 16% of our $10 billion state budget and we can’t afford it now.  Adding another $4 billion in state costs to the program would be disastrous.

5.     Patients and Specialists?

Will Congress’ healthcare reform plan allow the best and brightest to deliver appropriate medical services?  If provisions in Section 1501 of HR 3200 are included in the final bill, probably not – and specialists need not apply.   It outlines the role of a health commissioner who will approve expansion of physician residency training positions – with preferences given to primary care and disadvantaged applicants.   This section also suggests that specialty positions will not be expanded, leading to a diminished specialist base and a loss in quality patient care.

6.     Patient Health?

Delayed/denied patient care is commonplace in countries where Government controls costs to insure everyone.   Did you know….

Here’s a real life example:  24 year old Katie Hilliard of Great Britain asked twice to be given a pap smear test and was refused beause the government-controlled health system there said she was “too young.”  Katie now has cervical cancer, and it has spread to her lymph nodes and lungs.  Doctors have given her 11 months to two years to live.

(Katie’s story and others can be found at http://www.biggovhealth.org/stories#markcannon.)

Is it worth the cost?

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