Archive for March, 2011
One major concern of Obamacare is its huge incentive for businesses to dump employer-sponsored coverage. Recently, the Obama Administration acknowledged that this is likely, though it did so in an attempt to portray it as a positive outcome of its signature legislation. In reality, Americans will experience severe consequences if this effect of the new law comes to fruition.
Under Obamacare, those without government-qualified employer-sponsored insurance will be able to purchase insurance in the new exchanges. The new law creates generous subsidies to make coverage more affordable for low- and middle-income Americans. To qualify for a subsidy, an individual or family must fall between 138 and 400 percent of the federal poverty level. (Read the rest at The Foundry…)
Released this past Tuesday, the important new book Why Obamacare Is Wrong for America has gotten noticed by Fox News, NPR, Town Hall, National Review, and readers nationwide, who keep it climbing up the Amazon bestseller charts. The Foundry interviewed Heritage’s Bob Moffit—one of the four co-authors—who reveals how the book came together and why it matters.
The Foundry: Other laws passed in the last two years also have their critics. Why devote a whole book to just this one new law?
Bob Moffit: Because the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (commonly referred to as “Obamacare”) is historically unique. Never before has Congress enacted a comprehensive overhaul of one-sixth of the American economy, affecting all 300 million Americans, in one giant bill over 2,700 pages in length. Never before has Congress enacted major social legislation on a narrowly partisan basis in the teeth of popular opposition. Never before have 28 regionally diverse states united in challenging Washington in the federal courts. Health policy dominated the last election; it will play a major role in the next election. And the outcome of this national debate will shape the life of every person reading these lines.
Q: When did you, Grace-Marie Turner, and the other co-authors first discuss writing a book together about Obamacare? (Read the rest at The Foundry…)
This past Wednesday marked the first anniversary of Obamacare. While advocates spent the week highlighting the new law’s effects on different groups of Americans, we’ve done the same. A review of the facts on the ground and the conclusions of Heritage research over the past year reveal the far-reaching negative consequences of the new law.
Today, liberals are arguing that Obamacare helps young Americans. Although there are benefits from some provisions of the new law—for example, young adults can now stay on their parents’ health plan until age 26—young Americans will ultimately experience negative effects under Obamacare.
Under Obamacare, “young invincibles” are disproportionately burdened by higher insurance premiums. First, the act places a new community rating restriction on insurance companies so that they will be unable to charge premiums that differ by more than a 3:1 ratio by age. This will require younger, healthier, insured Americans to pay higher premiums to subsidize those who are older, sicker, and more expensive to insure. Since young and healthy individuals are less likely to buy insurance, policies that increase premiums will deter them from seeking coverage in the first place. (Read the rest at The Foundry…)
Right now, states across the country are trying to figure out what to do in response to Obamacare and its health insurance exchange architecture. In Oklahoma, the question has gone even further as the state government debates whether or not to accept federal funding, appropriated in the Obamacare statute, to create a state information technology system for a health care exchange.
In Ed Haislmaier’s recent paper, he describes this dilemma:
Trying to shoehorn patient-centered, market-based reforms into the bureaucratic architecture of Obamacare’s health insurance exchanges is not a viable strategy, either practically or politically. But refusing to create an Obamacare state exchange, while politically appealing, would leave state health insurance markets vulnerable to even more federal interference and disruption over the next two years. (Read the rest at The Foundry…)
Dr. Martha Boone doesn’t hide her displeasure with Obamacare. She was opposed to the law long before President Obama signed it one year ago and remains critical of it today. She spoke at Heritage this week about its impact on doctors.
One story Boone shared shed light on the challenges government-run health care has created with her patients. She spoke of an incident involving a Medicare patient with stress incontinence, a condition that can be treated by one of two operations.
The first operation takes 15 minutes, is not invasive and does not require anesthesia. It costs $2,200. The alternative requires cutting, general anesthesia, is more dangerous for those over 65, and has a four-week recovery. It costs $15,000. (Read the rest at The Foundry…)
A main goal of Obamacare was to expand health care coverage in the United States, which it tries to achieve largely by adding 18 million more individuals to Medicaid. But health coverage does not always equate to access to care, which is already apparent in the Medicaid program. In light of an increasing physician shortage across the nation, the changes made by Obamacare will make it even harder for Medicaid beneficiaries to receive primary care.
Medicaid patients already face an uphill battle trying to find physicians, since the program pays providers significantly less than private insurers and even Medicare. In many cases, reimbursement does not even cover the cost of providing services. Meanwhile, the Association of American Medical Colleges predicts a shortage of 45,000 primary care physicians and 46,000 surgeons and medical specialists within the next 10 years. As the population ages, demand for health care providers will rise. (Read the rest at The Foundry…)
Yesterday marked the first anniversary of Obamacare. While advocates spend the week highlighting the new law’s effects on different groups of Americans, we will do the same. A review of the facts on the ground and the conclusions of Heritage research over the past year reveal the far-reaching negative consequences of the new law.
Today, the argument is that Obamacare is good for women. Though there are sure to be those who experience some benefit under the new law, its overall effect will be negative for all Americans, women included.
The act includes new requirements that all health plans cover specific preventive services with no cost-sharing. Increasing prevention of serious illness is necessary to promote better health among Americans and would also likely reduce long-term health care spending. But Obamacare goes about it in the wrong ways, and it will have unintended consequences that hurt patients. Last year’s recommendation from the U.S. Preventive Service Task Force (USPSTF) regarding breast cancer screening for women between the ages of 40 and 50 highlights how these changes could hurt women specifically. (Read the rest at The Foundry…)
On Monday, The Heritage Foundation hosted a panel of current and future physicians to discuss the impact of Obamacare on their profession. Their remarks highlighted the importance of the doctor-patient relationship as the heart of the practice of medicine and detailed direct threats as a result of the new health law.
Representative Michael Burgess, M.D., (R-TX) explained that part of being a physician is fighting for the best interests of each individual patient. Under Obamacare, this will be harder to do, as government inserts itself further into the provision of care. One example is the creation of accountable care organizations (ACOs) in Medicare. Representative Burgess pointed out that under ACOs, doctors would not be held accountable to patients, but rather to the hospital or health plan in charge. Based on his experience as an OB/GYN, Representative Burgess argued that it will be more difficult for doctors to stand up for patients’ needs to insurers or the government if they work directly for the latter. (Read the rest at The Foundry…)
After one year, Obamacare remains just as unpopular as ever. The fight for repeal has gained ground in both Congress and the states. But repeal is only the first step in setting a new agenda on health care.
In her recently released paper, Heritage expert Nina Owcharenko explains the four steps necessary to creating lasting reform that is truly market-based and patient-centered: “Unlike Obamacare, Congress should pursue an approach to health care reform that preserves the doctor–patient relationship and cutting-edge innovation while controlling costs and expanding access to private health coverage.”
One year ago, when President Obama signed the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, he proclaimed it would lower costs, reduce the deficit, and lift the drag on our economy. Since then, insurance premiums have not dropped; coverage has not increased; over half of the states have filed suit against the Department of Health and Human Services; and two courts have declared the legislation unconstitutional. Shouldn’t a year be long enough for Obamacare to secure a place in our hearts and minds?
Not when the bill is an unpopular, unconstitutional legislative behemoth designed to alter Americans’ relationship with the federal government.
Advocates of Obamacare were utterly disconnected from Americans’ concerns about the bill—most especially their concern that it violated the Constitution. Nancy Pelosi was surprised when a reporter asked what part of the Constitution justified a mandate on American citizens to purchase a consumer good or service: was this man serious? Her press spokesman later clarified, lest there be any confusion, that constitutional questions were not serious questions. (Read the rest at The Foundry…)
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