Archive for October, 2011
Health Care News
When it comes to the super-committee’s duty to reform Medicare, you’ll likely to hear the same tired and unsuccessful methods for lowering Medicare’s soaring costs: raising taxes, manipulating payment formulas, or making even deeper payment cuts to doctors and hospitals.
The best way to reform Medicare is transform it into a premium-support program, which provides a defined contribution to seniors’ chosen health plans, which include a variety of private plans as well as traditional Medicare fee-for-service. This approach — based on injecting consumer choice and competition into Medicare — has a long history of bipartisan support, going back to the early 1980s.
Congress could adopt this approach through a two-stage, ten-year structural reform, which the Heritage Foundation outlined in its long-term deficit plan, “Saving the American Dream.” When compared with the Congressional Budget Office’s baseline, Heritage’s two-stage Medicare reform plan would result in $9.4 trillion in savings by 2035. (Read the rest on The Foundry…)
Medicare—on its current path—cannot be sustained. At a recent hearing held by the Senate Special Committee on Aging, Ranking Member Senator Bob Corker (R–TN) stressed the importance of Medicare reform. According to Corker, in 2011, “The U.S. spent $572 billion on Medicare, and spending is projected to increase to $1 trillion in 2021.”
The relationship between the amount citizens pay in to Medicare and the benefits they receive presents another losing equation for taxpayers. If an average couple combined makes $87,000 a year, they will pay $119,000 (including their employers’ contributions) into Medicare in their lifetimes but receive $357,000 in benefits. This disparity points to a clear structural flaw that must be addressed. As Joseph Antos of the American Enterprise Institute pointed out, “Business as usual with a few tweaks will not be effective in preserving Medicare for the long term.”
Saving Medicare will require transitioning the program to a premium-support system, which would allow seniors to choose a private health plan that works best for them, using a government contribution and requiring insurers to compete for their business like they currently do in Medicare Advantage and Medicare Part D. Heritage’s Saving the American Dream plan outlines how to achieve this. (Read the rest on The Foundry…)
On Friday, Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius admitted that the CLASS program can’t work. After months of insisting that it could meet a 75-year actuarial soundness test and keep with the statutory requirements, Sebelius acknowledged that “despite our best analytical efforts, I do not see a viable path forward for CLASS implementation at this time.”
The CLASS Act was a key provision included to pass Obamacare. It would have established a new, government-run long-term-care insurance program. But it was also used to claim that the health care law was paid for and would help bring down the deficit. From the beginning, Heritage warned that it was poorly designed and was included in the legislation primarily as a budget gimmick. (Read the rest on The Foundry…)
The Obama Administration notified Congress today that the CLASS Act — Obamacare’s long-term care insurance plan — is flawed, unsustainable, and unable to go forward.
In a letter to Congress, Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius wrote that “Despite our best analytical efforts, I do not see a viable path forward for CLASS implementation at this time.” CBS News reports:
The law required the administration to certify that CLASS would remain financially solvent for 75 years before it could be put into place. (Read the rest on The Foundry…)
Back in February 2010, when Congress was still debating the Obamacare legislation, then-Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) proclaimed to America that the law “will create 400,000 jobs almost immediately.” But according to a new report by Heritage’s James Sherk, Obamacare will have the opposite effect, pricing many unskilled workers out of full-time employment due to the law’s requirement that employers offer health benefits to full-time employees.
According to Sherk, the minimum cost of employing full-time workers under Obamacare amounts to an average of $27,500, more than what many unskilled employees produce. He explains in his paper, “Obamacare Will Price Less Skilled Workers Out of Full-Time Jobs” why increased costs will lead employers to shift to employing part-time workers. (Read the rest on The Foundry…)
If the goal is producing $1.2 trillion to $1.5 trillion in 10-year savings, the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction must think big and produce recommendations with real substance. Nothing could be truer than dealing with the health care savings component.
Typically, these negotiations are so focused on reaching the savings target that the policy gets neglected, or worse hijacked in the wrong direction. One only needs to look at the 1997 Balanced Budget Act to see this in action. Yes, a Republican Congress and Democratic administration were able to join hands and claim victory — the federal budget was balanced!
However, alongside this short-lived budget victory were a slew of health care policy changes that undermined conservative, free-market health care solutions. Most notably, one such change established a new health care entitlement program: SCHIP; and another advanced draconian cuts to Medicare providers resulting in a permanent “doc fix” dilemma. Even the so-called conservative “wins” that resulted — Medicare+Choice and Medical Savings Accounts — were hamstrung by regulation and designed to fail.
This recent history offers an object lesson to the super committee. (Read the rest on The Foundry…)
On Wednesday, Ken Hoagland, chairman of Restore America’s Voice Foundation, delivered the petitions of 1.6 million Americans demanding the repeal of Obamacare to legislators on Capitol Hill.
After the press conference, several members stayed to talk with Heritage about the problems with the current law, the progress of the repeal effort, and the sorts of conservative solutions they would like to see introduced.
To learn more about conservative healthcare solutions, read our plan for America — Saving the American Dream
We understand that the White House is experiencing some difficulties of late across many fronts—the Solyndra scandal and Operation Fast and Furious are two issues that come to mind. That, however, does not give spokesman Jay Carney license to misrepresent what The Heritage Foundation supports or does not.
Yesterday Mr. Carney once again defended Obamacare, this time by strongly implying that we think the health care law is wise and Constitutional. Specifically, the spokesman said:
We note that not only have lower courts upheld its constitutionality, but the fact of the individual mandate being both constitutional and wise policy is an opinion shared across the ideological spectrum. A former governor of Massachusetts just said the other day, ‘The idea for a health care plan in Massachusetts was not mine alone. The Heritage Foundation, a great conservative think tank, helped on that’.
For the record, and hopefully for the last time, we would like to make it crystal clear to the White House that we think Obamacare is unconstitutional and very, very unwise. (Read the rest on The Foundry…)
A lot of news was made this week when the National Federation of Independent Business filed a petition to the Supreme Court appealing the 11th Circuit’s Obamacare decision, which was quickly followed by petitions filed by the 26 state plaintiffs, and another by the Obama Justice Department. What do these filings mean for the future of Obamacare? Click here to join to find out! We are joined by Heritage’s legal expert Robert Alt, and he will be taking your questions about what the petitions mean and what they holds for the future. (See the full chat on The Foundry…)
On January 21, 2009, Barack Obama stood on the steps of the U.S. Capitol and, in his inaugural address, pledged to America that he would “wield technology’s wonders to raise health care’s quality and lower its cost.” What he did wield, of course, was a 2,000-page bill known as Obamacare. More than a year on, we now know that health care costs are soaring, and the President’s signature legislation is to blame.
Most Americans know that medicine is getting more expensive, but a new survey puts a shocking sticker price on the rapid increase. The Kaiser Family Foundation and the Health Research and Educational Trust report that between 2010 and 2011, family premiums increased by 9 percent and for individual premiums by 8 percent. According to the survey, “The average premium for single coverage in 2011 is $452 per month or $5,429 per year … The average premium for family coverage is $1,256 per month or $15,073 per year.”
What’s driving those costs? In large part, Obamacare. According to Kaiser Family Foundation CEO Drew Altman, the President’s health care legislation was responsible for approximately 20 percent of the increase in premiums. Heritage’s Kathryn Nix explains what parts of Obamacare are to blame:
- April 2013
- March 2013
- February 2013
- January 2013
- December 2012
- November 2012
- October 2012
- September 2012
- August 2012
- July 2012
- June 2012
- May 2012
- April 2012
- March 2012
- February 2012
- January 2012
- December 2011
- November 2011
- October 2011
- September 2011
- August 2011
- July 2011
- June 2011
- May 2011
- April 2011
- March 2011
- February 2011
- January 2011
- December 2010
- November 2010
- October 2010
- September 2010
- August 2010
- July 2010
- June 2010
- May 2010
- April 2010
- March 2010
- February 2010
- January 2010
- December 2009
- November 2009
- October 2009
- September 2009
- August 2009
- July 2009
- June 2009
- May 2009