Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Some Facts about Obamacare...

Depend On The Government For Your Health Care? Good Luck…
The government sold health care reform with 5 basic talking points:

1. You won’t be able to be kicked off of your insurance when you really need it
Turns out that the insurance companies CAN kick you off if they pay a fine. It is not hard to imagine that an insurance company will figure out pretty quickly that it would be cheaper to pay the fine than to pay for coverage of a long term chronic illness.

2. You won’t be denied medical care for pre-existing conditions.
If the insurance company deems that you have lied on the application you will be denied coverage.
Sick children are no longer considered to have pre-existing conditions, but what about women who are pregnant?

3. You can keep the doctor you have if you are already covered.
With the cuts in Medicare reimbursements that have already happened (no more consultation fees) and the looming 21% cut at the end of October. Many more physicians than the current 30% are looking to opt out of Medicare. When the commercial insurance reimbursement rates drop (as they invariably will since they pay at a percentage of Medicare) there will be more doctors looking to leave commercial insurance as well.

4. Health care reform will lead to increased access
There is no way that there will be an increase in access when you take into account; 1) the physician shortage, 2) Those physicians who will leave medicine after the passage of this monstrosity (a recent poll of physicians states that 35% would leave the profession), and 3) those who will stop taking insurance all together because they are simply fed up.
Expanding Medicaid to those who are currently uninsured is not going to help since most doctors are not taking Medicaid now. Currently access to specialists is pretty poor, it will decline further.

5. Health care reform will cover 30 million more uninsured people
The bill will cover approximately 7 million more people over the next nine years and leave over 100 million people under insured.

6. The health care reform bill will decrease the deficit
The CBO numbers do not take into account the “doctor fix” and the government takeover of student loans was added to pad the numbers.
If you do real world accounting by adding in the “doctor fix” (over 230 million dollars) you actually wipe out the cost savings and you increase the deficit (anywhere from 400-700 million dollars.)
It is likely that the estimated costs will likely be much higher. How can anyone really know what is going to happen in the next 10 years.
To say that these numbers are optimistic is being kind.
The Health care reform bill has done absolutely NOTHING that would really lower the cost of health care.

The pharmaceutical companies got three major cost raising concessions

- the government cannot go out of the country to shop for cheaper drugs

- the patent for biologics was extended to 12 years from 7 thereby locking out cheaper generic drugs. (For example a patient can continue to pay over $1000 a month for a drug like Embrel instead of getting some relief.

- patients will not be able to buy cheaper over the counter medications with their health savings account only more expensive prescription medication.

The health insurance companies may whine about their profit margin, but they get millions more people to add to their roles. Most of those people will only see a doctor 1-2 times a year for routine things, but will pay 14% higher premiums for the privilege.

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