Archive for January, 2011
Health Care News
Last Thursday, Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner sent a letter extolling the impact of Obamacare on small business. Geithner touted small business tax credits and the creation of health insurance exchanges as ways to enable a greater number of employers to offer health benefits.
But reality tells a different story. A day earlier, the House Committee on Ways and Means held a hearing to unveil the effects of the new health care law on businesses. Testifying before the committee were employers and economists, and their message was simple: Obamacare is bad for business.
Small businesses currently face an uphill battle to offer insurance to their employees, and the climb is becoming progressively steeper as insurance costs continue to rise. Obamacare will make these obstacles even more daunting. (Read the rest at The Foundry…)
Health Care News
Last week served up another dose of reality for Obamacare supporters.
In addition to House committee hearings that exposed the negative effects of the new law, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) released its new 10-year baseline, which unveils the “daunting economic and budgetary challenges” facing the United States. In 2011, the federal deficit will hit $1.5 trillion. Heritage budget expert Brian Riedl writes, “Historic increases in federal spending are set to create permanent trillion-dollar deficits, eventually pushing the national debt past 100 percent of the GDP. Without change, the nation could potentially face a Greece-like economic crisis.”
Deficits will decrease later in the decade as the economy recovers, but the CBO warns that this assumes “that tax and spending policies unfold as specified in current law. Consequently, they understate the budget deficits that would occur if many policies currently in place were continued, rather than allowed to expire as scheduled under current law.” (Read the rest at The Foundry…)
Click here to read former Congressional Budget Office (CBO) director, Doug Holtz-Eakin’s paper from the American Action Forum. By repealing Obamacare, Congress could save up to 695,000 jobs and cut the deficit by $279.7 billion.
Last night in the State of the Union address, President Obama stated that “the only way to tackle our deficit is to cut excessive spending wherever we find it—in domestic spending, defense spending, health care spending, and spending through tax breaks and loopholes. This means further reducing health care costs, including programs like Medicare and Medicaid, which are the single biggest contributor to our long-term deficit. Health insurance reform will slow these rising costs.”
Is it possible that the President has already forgotten that the health care law included a massive expansion of the broken Medicaid entitlement? According to projected national health expenditures from the Office of the Actuary at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), Medicaid spending in 2019 will be $896.2 billion. Without the health care law, CMS projects that the amount would have been $802.4 billion. (Read the rest at The Foundry…)
Forgive me if I seem skeptical of President Obama’s assertion last evening in his State of the Union address when he said that he was “willing to look at other ideas to bring down [health care] costs, including one that Republicans suggested last year: medical malpractice reform to rein in frivolous lawsuits.”
The president has in the past made clear his opposition to such reform, saying that he did not “believe malpractice reform is a silver bullet.” This despite the fact that abusive tort litigation against medical providers greatly increases medical malpractice-insurance costs, raising the costs of health care and driving providers out of business. Such litigation also forces almost all doctors to practice “defensive medicine” – ordering unnecessary tests and treatments to avoid potential lawsuits. This literally adds hundreds of billions of dollars to the cost of health care every year.
In 2009 when President Obama addressed Congress on health care, he made a very dubious offer of future medical malpractice pilot projects and supposedly ordered his Secretary of Health and Human Service, Kathleen Sebelius, to move forward with “authorizing demonstration projects in individual states to test these issues.” (Read the rest at The Foundry…)
As the country nears its first anniversary of the passage of Obamacare, the health care fight is just getting started.
Last week, the House of Representatives passed a measure to fully repeal Obamacare, and 28 states have filed lawsuits to contest the law’s constitutionality, a decision that will ultimately be made by the Supreme Court. At the same time, the states continue to resist the federal health care overhaul by passing new legislation and delaying implementation.
Clearly, the future of Obamacare is anything but settled. Rather, its passage has served only to ignite the fire, fueled by accounts of the numerous negative effects of the law, which include everything from increasing premiums and loss of coverage to new taxes and job losses.
Now, Heritage health policy experts have compiled “The Case Against Obamacare: A Health Policy Series for the 112th Congress.” This collection of papers highlights the 15 major provisions of the new law. Our analysts explain the disastrous consequences these provisions of Obamacare will have for all Americans and highlight the right way for legislators to solve the issues that Obamacare fails to address. (Read the rest at The Foundry…)
The House of Representatives passed a measure to fully repeal Obamacare, but the negative effects of the law will continue to unravel until the legislation makes it to the President’s desk. These include the requirement under the new law that the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) define “essential health benefits,” which must be included in all plans sold in the new health exchanges beginning in 2014. The process began last week.
The legislation outlines general categories to guide the Administration, which is otherwise given unlimited authority to further define the vague guidelines and include others as HHS sees fit.
This expansion of central authority presents several problems. First, the uniformity sought by the authors of Obamacare will be next to impossible for Administration officials to achieve. In determining the essential health benefits, they can take one of two approaches, as health policy expert John Hoff writes in recent Heritage research. The first would be to keep it general, defining required benefits as those that fall under the categories listed, as well as any other categories that HHS includes. This route would provide little useful information about what insurers must actually cover. (Read the rest at The Foundry…)
Last night, the House of Representatives passed H.R. 2, which would scrap Obamacare in its entirety. Regardless of whether this legislation makes it to the President’s desk, supporters of a new direction for health care reform have reason to be encouraged: Implementation of Obamacare faces an uphill battle in the states as well.
So far, 27 states have filed suit against the new law’s individual mandate and requirements forbidding states from reducing eligibility for their Medicaid programs. But the legal battle isn’t the only way states can throw a wrench in the health care overhaul. This week, the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) debuts “The State Legislators Guide to Repealing Obamacare” highlighting ways in which states can continue the battle. (Read the rest at The Foundry…)
Listen to Heritage expert Bob Moffit discuss the House effort to repeal Obamacare in a newly released podcast. Currently, the president can veto any attempt at repeal, so why even bother with a repeal vote? What does the Virginia ruling on Obamacare portend for future court rulings? Why does the CBO say it will add $230 billion to the deficit if we repeal Obamacare?
Well, find out all of that and more, here.
In 2007, Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels (R) passed the Healthy Indiana Plan (HIP) which helps Hoosiers who do not qualify for Medicaid to enroll in individual health-savings accounts. The program was so popular that the state had to suspend enrollment (because of federal regulations) a number of times. Today there are about 45,000 Hoosiers enrolled in the plan. It is a model of state-based patient-centered health care reform. But now Obamacare is, of course, threatening to destroy this system. The Evansville Courier & Press reports:
Gov. Mitch Daniels wants to use the Healthy Indiana Plan as a vehicle to deliver coverage to Hoosiers who in 2014 will become eligible for Medicaid under the new federal health care law.
He has asked federal officials whether that will be possible. Daniels directed a letter to U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius and said he wants an answer by the end of February. Indications thus far from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services are that the governor’s request is likely to be denied. (Read the rest at The Foundry…)
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