A blue ribbon panel speaking to a meeting of the Tea Party Patriots of El Dorado Hills Aug. 15 provided some valuable background on Obamacare.
Tim Sandefur from the Pacific Legal Foundation provided context on state health exchanges required by Obomacare, something that has gone under the radar in discussing the so-called Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.
According to Village Life Editor Noel Stack, who covered that meeting, “Sandefur compared exchanges to an airport shopping mall ‘where you only have two choices and the prices are sky high.’”
Recently the Congressional Budget Office said an average family of four would see a $2,100 premium increase.
The CBO also estimates 5 million to 11 million people will lose company health insurance in 2014 when Obamacare goes into full effect. The CMS Office of Actuary estimates 14 million. The Lewin Group estimated 17.2 million and the American Action Forum estimated 35 million. All these estimates were made in 2010. McKinsey and Co. estimated 30 percent of employers “definitely or probably stop offering” health insurance benefits in the years after 2014.
What happened to President Obama’s promise that we all could keep the insurance we have?
Sally Pipes, president of the Pacific Research Institute, originally from Canada, warned about medical care rationing. In Canada patients wait an average of 19 weeks to see a specialist. Her own mother died of colon cancer “only months before being denied a colonoscopy,” wrote Margaret A. Bengs in an Aug. 25 column in the Sacramento Bee after attending the forum in El Dorado Hills.
Bengs pointed out that the British National Health Service recently denied cataract surgery to many elderly and that those needing knee and hip replacements have to “wait longer in pain for operations,” she wrote, quoting the BBC.
Don’t think it won’t happen here. Obamacare will have 159 boards “with power over health markets,” according to the June 29 Wall Street Journal. The most egregious board is the Independent Payment Advisory Board (IPAB).
“Congress invested IPAB with broad powers to control Medicare costs — powers with virtually no limits. Three features combine to make IPAB’s regulatory power unprecedented: Its decisions are largely uncontrollable by Congress, its actions are unreviewable by the courts, and — amazingly — the agency’s existence is virtually unrepealable,” according to the Hoover Institution.
IPAB is a board of 15, most of whom cannot be in the medical and health insurance field. This group, who President Obama has declined to nominate before the election, “will eventually decide on treatments that patients are allowed to receive,” according to the WSJ.
That Congress — at the time majority Democrats in both houses — could pass a law to create a board that is accountable to no one, to no representative government, to no court is congressional malpractice. This board will eventually start limiting treatments for the elderly. It will say it’s too expensive to treat all the ailments of the baby boomers.
Obamacare is funded in part by taking more than $700 billion out of Medicare. That affects seniors right now. Bengs talked to a manager of a Sacramento clinic, who said physicians fees were reduced 27 percent last year by Medicare. That kind of income cut will drive doctors to retire or quit the profession. That was the message of Dr. Ronald Tachibana at the El Dorado Hills forum.
The cuts will total $58 million over the next 10 years for Marshall Hospital, administrator James Whipple told the forum. He added that Marshall’s doctor partners will face a cut of $15 million to $20 million. The prediction is for doctor shortages.
The gross cost of Obamacare, originally pegged at $930 billion when the act passed in 2010, is now pegged at $1.762 trillion over the next 10 years, according to the CBO. That is only partially offset by new tax hikes included in Obamacare, such as a tax on medical devices, higher medicare taxes for individuals making more than $200,000, 3.8 percent additional tax on diviidends and long-term captial gains and higher hurdles for deducting medical expenses on your income taxes.
It’s a drag on the economy and a congressional cancer on the future of health care in this country.