Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Obama's Healthcare - Something's Gotta Go

What I find interesting in this whole Baucus Healthcare bill thing is that the Congressional Budget Office, which is a number crunching entity, is the only non-partisan player in the game. Who else can we go to that has no agenda in making the numbers add up the way of special interests? And why does the Obama Administration dismiss their reporting when they should value their input? The CBO has crunched the numbers six ways from Sunday and have come up with probably the best ways to pay for his healthcare program. Regardless, there's still a huge shortfall. This healthcare reform cannot be done without costing the taxpayers in some form or other. Count me among those who agree that you can call it a tax. There will have to be something like increased premiums or cut in benefits - either way it still costs the taxpayer. It hurts them the same as an out-and-out tax.

Recently the CBO presented their unbiased report in which they said the Baucus bill will indeed require a cut in seniors' Medicaid Advantage benefits to the tune of about fifty percent. (Uh-oh! Look for more sanctions against anyone who dares speak up and name those areas and who might be affected…. Obama censors will strike again!)

So, far, all we have heard from the Obama camp on how this healthcare reform will be paid for is that it will be paid for through a $500 billion dollar reduction in Medicare benefits over the next ten years. I believe that this is the entire Medicare budget for this year alone.

It has become apparent through the Congressional Budget Office that the places where the Democrats want to cut funding is not sufficient to cover the cost of Obama's proposed healthcare reform and they will have to look elsewhere and cut in other areas that are going to be unacceptable to the people.

And don’t be fooled about these bills protecting the individual’s choiceof healthcare coverage. That's a bunch of hooey! If the healthcare is overhauled as proposed in HR3200 and the Baucus healthcare bill, you may be able to keep the insurance coverage you have – for now. But it will be phased out over the next few years as Obamacare matures.

Should HR3200 and Baucus healthcare or a facscimiles bill pass, a plan with public option or government-backed co-ops would offer subsidized plans that would be less expensive than private plans because of the subsidies. Private insurers can’t compete with government subsidized plans when you compare apples to apples. So, for those who have healthcare through employers, it’s obvious that eventually employers would have to discontinue paying the higher costs to cover employees under private insurance and would opt instead to pay the penalties for non-coverage.

So, if Democrats would be truthful about you keeping your present insurance coverage, they would tell you that it means you really can keep your insurance until the new government healthcare program takes full effect in a few years. "Technically”, it’s not that they’re forcing you to change insurance plans, it’s that through subsidies they are forcing the employer to make the choice to cover or pay penalties and ultimately eliminating that option for the consumer. Insurance companies offering the insurance you now use will eventually no longer offer the same coverage because they won’t be able to establish rates that could compete with the government subsidies.

So, if you're hearing a lawmaker say that you will not be required to change insurance to a public option, or a government-backed co-op, what you should really be hearing it is, "if you want, you can keep what you have now for as long as it's offered to you.” But, in reality, the days for that option will be limited to the timeframe of full implementation of the universal healthcare plan.

That, simply put, is how Obama's healthcare reform is going to work. What a different picture we would have if healthcare reform was approached through tort reform, caps on insurance premiums, limits on drug costs, coverage for pre-existing conditions instead? In fact, if these were adequately addressed, and appropriately reformed, we'd have an exceptional healthcare system instead of a new one that is most likely going to be ineffective and inadequate compared to the existing one. Let's see the CBO numbers on addressing those issues and we may see reform is affordable without costing one dime or reduction in benefits.

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