Skip to comments.What ObamaCare will do to seniors
Posted on 09/10/2011 12:08:56 PM PDT by TruthHound
Last month, I was invited to make a presentation to the Peninsula Seniors Organization at the Hesse Park auditorium in Rancho Palos Verdes. The subject was "How the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ObamaCare) Will Affect Seniors on Medicare." It was standing room only and the crowd spilled into the hallway.
Preparation for that talk involved a lot of study. I had served on the Los Angeles County Medical Association's subcommittee charged with reviewing all of the "reform" bills before they became law. Since then, many regulations have been written and a clearer picture has emerged of how the law will affect current and future Medicare enrollees.
The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act is not about helping seniors. It is about providing new health insurance for 50 million uninsured younger Americans and preventive medicine coverage for 100 million currently uncovered younger people. Funding comes partly from new taxes, but mostly by stripping $523 billion from Medicare members. That's more than $11,000 per current Medicare enrollee over the next 10 years.
Some benefits were added to Medicare, such as paying a small amount for annual checkups, eliminating deductibles and copays on a few things like colonoscopies and mammograms, and closing the donut hole in Medicare Part D in 2019. But that's about it. There were $10 in cuts for every dollar in new benefits.
The law creates no new doctors or nurses. In fact, it cuts funding for some training programs. But it does add 100 million people looking to collect on their mandated, prepaid annual checkups and preventive care benefits. Unlike Medicare patients, most of these people are well. This is a huge supply problem. No one knows from where the doctors and nurses to deliver on this demand will come.
Thus the pressure on the system will be overwhelming. The Congressional Budget Office and others have estimated that if all these people get their mandated free checkups, primary care doctors will spend seven-and-a-half hours a day doing only that, with little time remaining to care for the actually ill. Look for longer lines, less time with your doctor and more trips to the emergency room for delayed care as has happened in Massachusetts under a similar plan adopted five years ago in that state.
Even worse, the only way the law allows the new federal Independent Payment Advisory Board, tasked with controlling the growth of Medicare, to cut Medicare is to cut fees to doctors and hospitals, not specific allowed services. Congress could act to cut services, but would have to eliminate as much in services as the IPAB would have mandated in fee cuts. Otherwise, IPAB's cuts take place automatically. It will be much easier for Congress to let the IPAB do the dirty work.
Within a few years the fees paid for Medicare patients are projected to be lower than those paid by Medi-Cal, California's insurance for the indigent. Those rates are so low that 80 percent of private doctors cannot afford to accept Medi-Cal. And current law prohibits Medicare patients from paying extra for any Medicare-covered service no matter how willing they might be to do so. However, it does not prohibit younger patients from doing so.
Thus, Medicare patients will be beneath the indigent in the pecking order of who gets seen preferentially if the office overhead is to be paid. When doctors are paid more to quickly see a 30-year-old with a sore throat or do a wellness checkup than to see a 75-year-old with 25 complex medical problems who needs help to get on an exam table, Medicare patients may be crowded out.
Furthermore, ObamaCare eliminates tax credits and almost $700 in annual subsidies per retiree to employers who now offer their retirees prescription drug coverage. AT&T alone will lose a billion dollars in such subsidies and credits. The CBO projects 90percent of employers will probably drop their senior prescription service. These retirees will then have to go bare or purchase ever more expensive and restrictive Medicare Part D policies.
The funding cuts for Medicare Advantage are in the order of $200 billion. Fourteen million seniors belong to MA plans that include Kaiser and other HMOs, Medicare fee-for-service plans and Medicare Medical Savings plans. About 7.5 million such seniors are projected to lose their MA plan and be forced back into traditional Medicare and its draconian funding cuts. Others will see sharp increases in their premiums.
A district federal court in Atlanta has ruled that critical parts of ObamaCare are unconstitutional while a Cincinnati district court has ruled the opposite. The case is headed for the Supreme Court probably in 2013. The Republicans who now control the House of Representatives passed a repeal act this year. It failed in the Senate by four votes.
But Republicans have committed to repeal and replace ObamaCare in 2013 if they win control of the Senate and White House. If seniors are serious about protecting Medicare, then candidates who support that repeal should be attractive.
Thomas LaGrelius is a Torrance-based geriatrician and a fellow of the American Academy of Family Physicians.
Replace Obamacare? With what? GOPcare?
With Zero in office, nothing surprises me. He’s worse than no leader at all.
Hmmmm and to think the AARP supported this? I surely pray the USSC strikes this bill down. It destroys are heathcare as we know it. And effectively kills off the seniors! I guess I had better plan for some out of the USA medical trips.
What a country. We have to pray for the upholding of our Constitution.
"No, old people, I expect you to die."
This is perhaps the biggest strike against Medicare. If the government is unwilling to pay a fair market price for services, then the patient should have the freedom to make up the difference.
“The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act is not about helping seniors. It is about providing new health insurance for 50 million uninsured younger Americans and preventive medicine coverage for 100 million currently uncovered younger people. Funding comes partly from new taxes, but mostly by stripping $523 billion from Medicare members. That’s more than $11,000 per current Medicare enrollee over the next 10 years.”
They are planning on treating a certain age group only.
G.B.Shaw - Fabian: “Jusify your Existance”:
Paraphrasing Shaw: If you’re not “pulling your weight or producing as much as you should or more then clearly we cannot keep you alive. I appeal to the chemists to develop gas which would kill people...a humane gas, not cruel.
bump for later
What seniors? People won’t live long enough to become seniors and if they somehow managed to slip through, there’s always the death panels.
What’s that old 60s movie about killing people off before they get old?
The current issue of AARP Magazine reports this is not true and is due to an error in a government printed guide.
Medicare recipents ARE eligible for a once a year "Wellness" discussion with a doctor. There are no type of physical examination covered in this meeting and no removal of clothing. I am serious, this is not sarcasm.
I see this conversation as being the purpose of this exam:
Doctor: "Given the fact that you've stated that you don't have as much energy as you used to, don't you think it is time to let me inject you with life ending medications approved by the 15-member Death Panel?
Actually BaraqqiCare is a carefully crafted plan to solve both the social security and medicare unfunded mandates by reducing the average lifespan.
"Logan's Run", the "cutoff" was 40 yo.
PS It was also a TV series.
There was 70s Logan’s Run:
Probably the only good part of the low budget series.
DEMOCRATIC PARTY icon and former Governor of Colorado Richard Lamm said that I believe.. no wait, he said (paraphrasing) "Old people never die, they just get in the way" in his farewell address, no..
I remember now!
DEMOCRATIC PARTY icon and former Governor of Colorado Richard Lamm said that seriously ill old people have a "duty to die and get out of the way." It's just like "leaves falling off a tree and forming humus for the other plants to grow up." The Governor told a meeting of the Colorado Health Lawyers Association this, in 1984 I believe.
"You've got a duty to die and get out of the way . . . Let the other society, our kids, build a reasonable life."
Well that was 27 years ago.. how do you feeling, governor? Wot? That's right, you're a liberal. You can demand that others do this or that but not you.
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