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Sunday, Bloody Sunday
Article by Jim Quinn
[blogger's note: this is a very long article, so I will be excerpting parts of the facts and figures presented because of space - click on link above for entire article]
...Politicians have demonstrated over decades to be completely ignorant of the long-term impact of the rules and regulations they have inflicted upon the American people. For those who believe that creating a new entitlement for 32 million people, hiring 16,500 new IRS agents to enforce the new regulations, and allowing government boards to make your healthcare decisions for you will reduce costs and improve healthcare, I will point you to the facts versus promise of prior legislation. A Senate Joint Economic Committee released a report in 2009 found that health care plan costs are always dramatically underestimated by the politicians that create the entitlements:
Medicare (hospital insurance) – In 1965, as Congress considered legislation to establish a national Medicare program, the House Ways and Means Committee estimated that the hospital insurance portion of the program, Part A, would cost about $9 billion annually by 1990.v Actual Part A spending in 1990 was $67 billion. The actuary who provided the original cost estimates acknowledged in 1994 that, even after conservatively discounting for the unexpectedly high inflation rates of the early ‘70s and other factors, "the actual [Part A] experience was 165% higher than the estimate."
Medicare (entire program) – In 1967, the House Ways and Means Committee predicted that the new Medicare program, launched the previous year, would cost about $12 billion in 1990. Actual Medicare spending in 1990 was $110 billion – off by nearly a factor of 10.
Medicaid DSH program – In 1987, Congress estimated that Medicaid’s disproportionate share hospital (DSH) payments – which states use to provide relief to hospitals that serve especially large numbers of Medicaid and uninsured patients – would cost less than $1 billion in 1992. The actual cost that year was a staggering $17 billion. Among other things, federal lawmakers had failed to detect loopholes in the legislation that enabled states to draw significantly more money from the federal treasury than they would otherwise have been entitled to claim under the program’s traditional 50-50 funding scheme.
Medicare home care benefit – When Congress debated changes to Medicare’s home care benefit in 1988, the projected 1993 cost of the benefit was $4 billion. The actual 1993 cost was more than twice that amount, $10 billion.
Medicare catastrophic coverage benefit – In 1988, Congress added a catastrophic coverage benefit to Medicare, to take effect in 1990. In July 1989, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) doubled its cost estimate for the program, for the four-year period 1990-1993, from $5.7 billion to $11.8 billion. CBO explained that it had received newer data showing it had significantly under-estimated prescription drug cost growth, and it warned Congress that even this revised estimate might be too low. This was a principal reason Congress repealed the program before it could take effect.
SCHIP – In 1997, Congress established the State Children’s Health Insurance Program as a capped grant program to states, and appropriated $40 billion to be doled out to states over 10 years at a rate of roughly $5 billion per year, once implemented. In each year, some states exceeded their allotments, requiring shifts of funds from other states that had not done so. By 2006, unspent reserves from prior years were nearly exhausted. To avert mass disenrollments, Congress decided to appropriate an additional $283 million in FY 2006 and an additional $650 million in FY 2007.
Based on this track record, do you believe President Obama when he declares that his national healthcare plan will save $136 billion in the first ten years? It appears the rocket scientists on the Democratic side of the aisle have trouble estimating the costs of the entitlements they hand out on a regular basis. Republicans, on the other hand, tend to slightly underestimate the cost of their invasions (Rummy says $50 billion; taxi meter says $977 billion and counting)...
...The last year has been a never-ending competition of lies. The American public has been subjected to misinformation and lies from the tongues of politicians who hire pollsters and PR firms to fabricate their propaganda. Democratic talking points hammered home incessantly are:
Insurance companies are evil and must be stopped from screwing Americans.
The healthcare plan will reduce deficits by $136 billion in the 1st ten years and $1 trillion in the 2nd ten years.
The healthcare plan will reduce Medicare waste by $500 billion.
The biggest middle class tax cut for healthcare in history.
Even the pea-brained pundits on CNBC know the stock market is a discounting mechanism that looks forward 6 to 12 months. With Obama blaming insurance companies for everything that is wrong with our healthcare system and declaring an end to their reign of terror, you would think their stocks would reflect a miserable future. As you can see from the chart below the five biggest insurance companies in the country are dancing in the aisles of Congress over this plan. It is funny how their stocks have doubled the market while Obama declares he is going to stick it to them. Considering insurance company and drug company lobbyists wrote large portions of the bill, maybe Obama was stretching the truth, just a little...
The truth is that Obamacare will increase budget deficits, increase costs for everyone, decrease levels of service, increase wait times for procedures, and drive doctors out of the profession. Only a delusional liberal ideologue could believe that throwing 32 million people into the healthcare system could possibly reduce costs. Democrats specifically wrote the bill in a way to manipulate the CBO scoring system. Douglas Holtz-Eakin, the CBO director from 2003 to 2005, knows all the tricks of the trade. His honest assessment of the bill concludes that the federal deficit will increase by $562 billion. The major deceptions in the healthcare bill are as follows:
The bill declares it will trim $463 billion from Medicare spending and use it to finance insurance subsidies. But Medicare is already bleeding red ink, and the health care bill has no reforms that would enable the program to operate more cheaply in the future. Instead, Congress will continue to regularly override scheduled cuts in payments to Medicare doctors and other providers. With an anticipated 200,000-doctor shortage by 2020, Congress will never make these cuts.
To operate the new programs over the first 10 years, future Congresses would need to vote for $114 billion in additional annual spending. But this so-called discretionary spending is excluded from the Congressional Budget Office’s tabulation.
$70 billion in premiums are expected to be raised in the first 10 years for the legislation’s new long-term health care insurance program. This money is counted as deficit reduction, but the benefits it is intended to finance are assumed not to materialize in the first 10 years, so they appear nowhere in the cost of the legislation.
The bill uses $53 billion in anticipated higher Social Security taxes to offset health care spending. Social Security revenues are expected to rise as employers shift from paying for health insurance to paying higher wages. But if workers have higher wages, they will also qualify for increased Social Security benefits when they retire. So the extra money raised from payroll taxes is already spoken for. It cannot be used for lowering the deficit.
These are just the costs that were purposely misrepresented in the healthcare bill. The unintended consequences in a 2,400-page bill that was not read by the people who voted for it will be immeasurable. The Bill will bring 32 million high-usage people into the healthcare system and force insurance companies to cover people with pre-existing conditions. Sounds like a humane thing to do. The last time I looked, insurance companies are for-profit entities. If they are forced to take on riskier customers, they will increase premiums on all their customers. According to the Congressional Budget Office, insurance premiums will double in the next few years. The bill will do nothing to lessen that increase. Obama pays for large swaths of the bill by taxing people making over $200,000 and imposing fees on drug manufacturers, health insurers, and medical device manufacturers. The rich will change their behavior to avoid these taxes. It seems ironic that many of the Americans that earn more than $200,000 per year are doctors. The corporations will pass along the fees and taxes to the consumers of their products...
It is clear that prices for all forms of healthcare will be going up. At least we can be sure that services levels and care will decline while wait times for service go up. A survey in the New England Journal of Medicine reports that 46% of doctors may give up their practice in the wake of this bill. There is no doubt that many doctors will choose to shrink their patient loads or retire. In Massachusetts, after the passage of Romneycare, the wait to see a primary-care physician increased from 33 to 52 days. Surely adding 159 new programs, thousands of new rules and regulations, and a boatload of government bureaucrats will improve healthcare for all. According to a recent report by the Association of American Medical Colleges:
There are currently 700,000 doctors in the U.S. today. That is one doctor for every 450 people.
With the rapidly aging population, the need for doctors would have been 860,000 by 2025.
With the passage of universal healthcare, the need will be 910,000 by 2025.
The number of people graduating from Medical school has been flat at 16,000 per year since 1980.
The supply of doctors will only be 750,000 in 2025.
Approximately 53% of all the doctors in the US are over 50 years old.
Only 1% of doctors under 35 are in General Practice, while 47% of those over 50 years old are in General Practice.
Doctors will face greater workloads, lower reimbursements and still be subject to frivolous lawsuits by ambulance chasers, as the Democrats surprisingly chose not to address medical malpractice lawsuits. The fact that 96% of the contributions from the Trial Lawyers of America go to the Democratic Party couldn’t have had an impact on Democrats not addressing this issue in a 2,400-page "reform" bill. Despite the future doctor shortage, higher premiums, longer wait times, more paperwork, and boards of bureaucrats deciding your treatment, at least you have the comfort of knowing the IRS will be enforcing the 2,400 pages of rules and regulations with threats of fines and imprisonment. The IRS is well known for their extreme competence and ability to enforce rules and regulations. There are already 100,000 pencil-pushing, mouth-breathing thugs occupying the offices of the IRS. They are so efficient in their existing endeavors that it is estimated that they have somehow not collected $354 billion of taxes that they are owed. They now have the green light to hire 16,500 more hooligan enforcement agents to crack skulls if you fail to purchase government healthcare. Thomas Sowell sums up the fantasy that only a liberal intellectual could believe:
"It is amazing that people who think we cannot afford to pay for doctors, hospitals, and medication somehow think that we can afford to pay for doctors, hospitals, medication and a government bureaucracy to administer it."
"The most costly of all follies is to believe passionately in the palpably not true. It is the chief occupation of mankind."
~ H.L. Mencken
"They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety."
~ Benjamin Franklin