Rationing By Any Obamacare Name Would Smell Like…Well…Rationing

With apologies to the Bard, we have this stinker via the Wall Street Journal:

Hospitals and health insurers are locking horns over how much health-care providers will get paid under new insurance plans that will be sold as the federal health law is rolled out.

The results will play a major role in determining how much insurers will ultimately charge consumers for these policies, which will be offered to individuals through so-called exchanges in each state.

The upshot: Many plans sold on the exchanges will include smaller choices of health-care providers in an effort to bring down premiums.

To keep costs low, the insurers are pressing for hospitals to grant discounts from the rates hospitals usually get in commercial plans. In return, participating hospitals would be part of smaller networks of providers. Hospitals will be paid less by the insurer, but will likely get more patients because those people will have fewer choices. The bet is that many consumers will be willing to accept these narrower networks because it will help keep premiums down.

So we will get rationing as a result of this wonderful social program – but this isn’t the only lie as chronicled by the financial site, Money Morning:

Obamacare Lie #1: “If you like your healthcare plan, you’ll be able to keep your healthcare plan. Period.No one will take it away. No matter what.”
President Obama said this often. But for many Americans, that promise will be broken. This week, the Congressional Budget Office issued a report in which it estimated that by 2022, Obamacare will cause 7 million Americans to lose their employer-based health insurance. That’s because many of the Obamacare benefits will make many plans more expensive, prompting employers to drop coverage. Ironically, this broken promise could affect millions of workers in unions, which campaigned hard to get President Obama elected.

Obamacare Lie #2: “Under my plan, no family making less than $250,000 a year will see any form of tax increase.”
Here at Money Morning, we told you about numerous Obamacare taxes, hidden and not-so-hidden, that will hit the middle class. In addition to the notorious “mandate tax,” middle-class Americans will get hit by taxes levied on businesses that will get passed through to consumers, particularly the 2.4% tax that covers any medical device that cost $100 or more. Other Obamacare taxes affecting the middle class include a 10% tax on tanning services and a doubled penalty on withdrawals made from Health Savings Accounts (HSAs) for non-medical purposes.

Obamacare Lie #3: “I will not sign a plan that adds one dime to our deficits – either now or in the future.”
This week, the CBO again raised its estimate on what Obamacare will cost over the next decade, from $814 billion to $1.047 trillion. While President Obama has claimed the ACA will actually reduce deficits due to all the money raised from taxes, penalties and fees, critics say much of the “savings” result from accounting tricks and double-counting. And with Obamacare’s estimated costs rising rapidly, it’s more a question of when, not if, the law will begin contributing to the federal budget deficit.

Obamacare Lie #4: Obamacare will “cut the cost of a typical family’s premium by up to $2,500 a year.”
Sorry, the “Affordable Care Act” will in fact make healthcare insurance far less affordable. On Jan. 30 the IRS released new regulations regarding Obamacare – remember that the IRS is in charge of penalizing you should you fail to purchase the mandated insurance – that included cost estimates for the plans the government will offer. For a family of four, the cheapest plan – dubbed Bronze in Obamacare-speak – will cost $20,000 a year in 2016. That’s an increase of more than $4,000 from the average of $15,745 such families paid in 2012.

Obamacare Lie #5: The new healthcare law will improve, not hurt, the quality of American healthcare.
We don’t have proof of this yet, but given that more people (Obamacare provides coverage to millions of people who do not now have it) will be using the same amount of healthcare resources, it stands to reason that quality will decline. Here’s what Dr. Adam Frederic Dorin said in a recent article in The Washington Times: “Most doctors will not be able to afford to see patients with an Obamacare card. This means that patients will be increasingly relegated to longer lines in publicly funded clinics…. More patients will be denied access to advanced, cutting-edge drugs like chemotherapeutics.”

Obamacare Lie #6: It’s not a government takeover: “I don’t believe that government can or should run healthcare.”
Although Obamacare doesn’t seize total control of the U.S. healthcare system, it extends the tendrils of government deep into it and gives the Department of Health and Human Services broad powers. One particularly troubling example is the Independent Payment Advisory Board, which will have the power to lower payment rates for Medicare treatments, which could reduce the care available to seniors.

Obamacare Lie #7: The state health insurance exchanges will open on time.
One of the keys to fully implementing Obamacare is launching the so-called health insurance exchanges in each state, where people will be able to shop for health plans using tax credits. The CBO this week contradicted assurances from the Obama administration that the exchanges will be ready later this year. The CBO report said the exchanges are unlikely to open in October, as promised, because they won’t have enough plan options, and people will be reluctant to use something untested and unfamiliar.

Too bad we can’t sue politicians for malpractice.

28 thoughts on “Rationing By Any Obamacare Name Would Smell Like…Well…Rationing

  1. Consider this…if you have to have a C-T scan at the hospital, it will cost you around two grand, plus an additional fee for someone to “read” the scan. Yet, if one shops around, you can find a business called medical imaging where you can get the same scan for about $500 bucks inclusive, plus often a ten percent discount for cash.

    • Consider this

      Exactly. Our health care system IS broken. If we would expose medical care delivery to market forces we would see a dramatic reduction in costs and an equally dramatic increase in quality, quantity and innovation.

  2. Our insurance premium has gone up at least $2400 a year so far. This is for basic insurance with a $7500 deductible ( we rarely, if ever, use it). I predict we won’t even be able to have this kind of insurance soon. I bet there won’t be a cash option , either.

      • Steve, the IRS said that the basic plan will cost a family of four a minimum of 20,000 by 2016. I expect that estimate to escalate in next years projection.

        I like Dr. Ben Carson’s idea, also proposed by others, about Health Savings Accounts and let the consumer shop around for their health care. You know if you pay cash at the hospital or Doctor’s office, you save about 25% on the bill.

        • I agree with what you say, but we have gotten in so deep with Medicare and Medicaid that as those plans pay less and less, even the cash customers will be forced to make up the difference. I might go so far as to say that the plans should never have been instituted, but we can’t put the genie back in the bottle.

          http://www.rawstory.com/rawreplay/2011/09/tea-party-audience-cheers-letting-the-uninsured-die/

          Ron Paul gets a rousing response to his comment about personal responsibility (prefaced by his belief that the hypothetical healthy 30-year old should have had insurance). The response to letting the 30-year old die was not so enthusiastic.

  3. I am happy to see this post from Utah. I know he is a busy man, and I respect his commitment to the blog and his dedication. We have had many discussions, some might call combative, but as B3 and I have ascertained, the exchange of ideas can sometimes be misconstrued.

    As this post has many segments and I have many irons in many fires, my response will have to be be piecemeal.

    “Rationing By Any Obamacare Name Would Smell Like…Well…Rationing”

    We have always rationed healthcare. I think the title could have been more appropriate. It sounds like something the New Herald would use. Just sayin’ 🙂

    • Steve: I disagree – healthcare has never been rationed. The poorest and most destitute have always been able to get life-saving care because hospitals public hospitals are forbidden to turn them down. We can debate about whether cost is a factor in what you call “rationing” but that is the simply the way that market signals are sent in a free market – by price. That is not rationing because the services are still available – just at a cost. In a system like the UK has – and where we are headed because Obamacare is designed to fail and take the healthcare system with it – rationing means that there are some things that simply are not available at any price.

      • We can say our current laws regarding “life-saving care” is in some way a contravention of my statement, but I don’t see the connection.

        To give you one example of my line of reasoning, consider plans I had for years. The point I will illustrate is based upon the plan(s) offered by my employer, over the years, but was standard for the industry. In order to control the price of premiums, mental healthcare was limited to x number of visits (outpatient or inpatient) with a $2,500 annual cap.

  4. “Obamacare” is total B.S., but I’m not so sure this is true: “That’s because many of the Obamacare benefits will make many plans more expensive, prompting employers to drop coverage.”

    The exchanges should break up the state sanctioned “monopolies”. Even if it doesn’t, why would offering more alternatives cause existing plans to become more expensive? I wish it would have that effect, because employers must be relieved burdensome healthcare costs in order to be competitive.

    The only plans looking at price increases are the ones so stripped down at present, that they are practically useless. IMO, those plans are being sold, not because that is what people want, but because that is all they can afford.

  5. LIE #1 WAS: “There are no death panels.”

    THERE ARE! And the man who was largely responsible for designing this monstrosity just came out and said they will be needed to just to be able to afford to pay for the rationed care they will allow us pee-ons.

  6. Obamacare Lie #2: ”Under my plan, no family making less than $250,000 a year will see any form of tax increase.”

    The way they try to rig a plan like this with any kind of additional tax, merely says they think we are stupid.

    I don’t blame the Democrats so much for this, but rather the a-holes on both sides who keep protecting the current income tax code.

  7. Steve,

    I am beginning to suspect you are MUCH less of a “Libertarian” than you’d like us to believe.

    On top of that, I would suggest you read the entire Obamacare bill — as in, the parts that were actually in the stimulus bill. They were put there BEFORE Obamacare passed so Obama could say that the death panels were not in the healthcare bill (among other LIES). You are making this thing out to be W-A-Y to rosy a picture. This is nothing short of a claim to your entire life — ALL OF IT!

  8. Obamacare Lie #4: Obamacare will “cut the cost of a typical family’s premium by up to $2,500 a year.”

    B.S.

    “For a family of four, the cheapest plan – dubbed Bronze in Obamacare-speak – will cost $20,000 a year in 2016.”

    Do you know if these estimates are for plans offered on exchanges set up by the federal government, if states opt out? Even so, how can they publish such numbers when the insurance companies involved having no idea of how many people would ultimately be be involved? I think it is just more B.S.

    “That’s an increase of more than $4,000 from the average of $15,745 such families paid in 2012”

    $15,745…Outrageous!

  9. Obamacare Lie #5: The new healthcare law will improve, not hurt, the quality of American healthcare.

    “We don’t have proof of this yet… True and some studies suggest we already have a lower quality of outcomes, than other developed countries, considering the amount of money we spend.

    “Most doctors will not be able to afford to see patients with an Obamacare card.”

    Depending on selected plans, and the contracted reimbursement rates, many doctors will choose to opt out. that is nothing new, but could be exacerbated by the changes.

    “This means that patients will be increasingly relegated to longer lines in publicly funded clinics…. ”

    An increase in publicly funded clinics will no doubt occur in order to handle increased demand.

    “More patients will be denied access to advanced, cutting-edge drugs like chemotherapeutics.”

    As it should be.

    • I am a physician.

      That being said, one must look at a very simple supply and demand issue. If the goal of obamacare is to provide health insurance to the estimated 30-45 million who did not have healthcare insurance, how does anyone think this will lower prices for medical care when there is no increase in physicians needed to see the extra 30-45 million patients? You cannot simply wave a magic wand and get a doctor. It takes a minimum of 11 years to produce a general practice physician, and a minimum 14 years to produce a specialist. We are already looking at a 90,000 general practice physician shortage by 2020, and adding in tens of millions of newly insured only exacerbates the situation. Medical care will necessarily increase in cost as the shortage worsens, unless the government cuts reimbursements so low or rations care such that the system can avoid total collapse. Doctors may be altruistic to a certain degree, but they cannot provide medical care for very long when the reimbursements are lower than the cost of providing care. How long would any nonmedical business stay solvent if the government mandated payments lower than the cost for doing business? Doctors are not going to become slaves, no matter how much leftist politicians demand we do so.

  10. Rationing By Any Obamacare Name Would Smell Like…Well…Rationing

    I think that I know what’cha mean; we’ll ration care by limiting a bunch of things. Things like access to doctors, access to certain forms of care and we’ll ration by time – we’ll just wait longer to see doctors; waits like we see in European nations.

    But we should be fair – we WANT to ration health care by cost, or money. We want the delivery of medical care to be subject to the open, free and fair market. Which means that we want it to be rationed by money.

    The best argument for that is the free market, rationing by price, is the best method for allocating scare resources that have alternative uses.

    Ever.

    • In a perfect world the free market would be ideal.

      I often get into this discussion, because strict adherence to political philosophy has many pitfalls. My problem with the mantra concerning the free market cure for anything is that it does not exist and cannot exist as long as the government is involved. The politicians, that I hear continually offering this as the solution, never appear to have a detailed plan about how to achieve it.

      I believe we have darn near screwed the pooch, and there is no way to back out completely without denying care, even in life or death situations.

    • In a perfect world a free market would be ideal. The problem is politicians offering that as a solution do not appear to have a plan for achieving it. If they did, I think they would be sharing it with us. It is a popular mantra, applied to any number of issues, but without explaining how we get their, it is only so many words. IMO, adhering to strict ideology, in the political arena, has many pitfalls.

      We have darn near screwed the pooch, and I don’t think annihilating the entire system in order to start over is realistic. However, I do believe there are ways to begin backing out of it in ways that will avoid further long-term financial damage. Unfunded liabilities should be our number one concern.

      Growing the economy will help (and the forces preventing it really tick me off), but even additional tax revenues generated by an economic recovery will not do the job entirely, especially if the goal is to reduce taxes. I am all about applying the pressure required to “encourage” owners of capital to invest productive assets more fully in the U.S., but there will also have to be structural changes in “entitlement” programs.

      It might appear that I’m going off on a tangent somewhat, but Medicare, Medicaid, SCHIP, and veterans’ medical care make up such a large portion of our healthcare system, the free market is out the window for the foreseeable future.

      • One solution is to allow insurance to be purchased across state lines.

        Tort reform, including caps on damages and loser pays for frivolous lawsuits, with the malpractice attorney held liable for all legal expenses for the wrongly accused physician in cases where the physician is exonerated of malpractice.

        Phase out medicare and medicaid over time. It is not the government’s job to pay for medical care for anyone but military personnel.

        Allow physicians and hospitals to deduct dollar for dollar from taxes for the value of charity medical care provided. Allow people who donate to hospitals for indigent medical care to deduct dollar for dollar what they donate. Any physician or hospital entity convicted of fraud under this clause permanently loses medical license and is fined 10 times the dollar value of the fraud.

        Physicians who agree to work in underserved areas are given a 20% med school loan repayment per year up to 5 years.

        Get control of the border, and stop the misinterpretation of the 14th amendment granting citizenship to babies born to foreign mothers who cross the border solely to deliver their infants, for the purpose of gaining access to welfare, foodstamps and medicaid. I worked for three years in El Paso. The birth fraud there is astronomical.

        End the idiotic mandates for people to buy insurance coverage for things they do not need nor want. A male does not need to pay for birth control or mammograms. A post menopausal woman does not need to pay for birth control or prostate exams. A 50-60 year old couple does not need pediatric coverage. Educate the public on the importance of having medical insurance coverage, just like car insurance, but using health insurance as a marxist redistribution scam is insane. Find a way to do away with preexisting condition clauses, but without bankrupting either insurers or the insured.

  11. Show of hands here. How many have read the ACA? How many have read parts of it and found most of it to be either incomprehensible, or full of references to other laws or sections making it next to impossible to decipher? Maybe it’s just me.

  12. #6

    “Although Obamacare doesn’t seize total control of the U.S. healthcare system, it extends the tendrils of government deep into it…”

    The expansion of Medicaid will be paid by taxpayers. If the states go along with it, the credit card gets run up even higher. If the states reject it, those responsible for rejecting it will have to answer to voters on two counts.

    If the federal government is “paying”, what’s the problem. Balancing the federal budget is Congress’ responsibility. let them work it out.

    If the states reject it, what steps are they prepared to control current Medicaid spending and deal with the uninsured? As in the case of Florida, I certainly hope they would not respond in the way they did to skyrocketing property insurance.

  13. Obamacare Lie #7: The state health insurance exchanges will open on time.

    This is gonna be one monster cluster fuck!

    “Too bad we can’t sue politicians for malpractice.”

    AMEN!

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