The antithesis of government-centered Obamacare is what the author calls “Patientcare.” Patient-centered health care involves tax fairness, insurance portability, health savings accounts, end government monopolies, end frivolous lawsuits, help the needy and give patients the freedom to voluntarily enroll in premium-assistance programs like Medicare Advantage, where they own their own policies, rather than being subject to the rationing whims of unaccountable bureaucrats.
Obamacare is beginning to scare not just Republicans but Democrats as well who will be up for reelection. The train wreck that Senator Baucus foresees could push young people into “rate shock” as their premiums increase to subsidize care for older Americans. Obamacare’s “community rating” rules and benefit mandates might prompt employers to drop coverage or avoid hiring new employees.
West Virginia Democratic Sen. Jay Rockefeller, one of the architects of Obamacare, openly criticized program managers for not moving quickly enough to build the system, warning that if it gets off to a bumpy start it will just get worse. Decrying the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act as way too complex, he warned the acting Medicare director that Obamacare is “so complicated and if it isn’t done right the first time, it will just simply get worse.”
The Obama administration did not anticipate that opposition to the Affordable Care Act of 2010, nicknamed “Obamacare,” would drag on years after the law’s passage, said Kathleen Sebelius, U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services. Despite its goal to provide health coverage to more than 30 million uninsured Americans and improve the quality of medical care delivered across the country, many voters have balked over concerns the law will raise healthcare costs and increase government involvement in their personal decisions.
Author claims that Obamacare will be a disaster for both seniors, doctors and hospitals. He also claims that universal health care for all can be assured without Obamacare, with no coercive individual mandate, no job-killing employer mandate, and a savings to taxpayers of roughly $2 trillion over the next 10 years.
Author contends that Medicare will to slash physician fees by 25% by January 2014 (under the Balanced Budget Act of 1997), additional (Obamacare-required) cuts to physician fees so severe that by 2030; Medicare will be paying doctors 60 percent less than private health insurance plans (and nearly one-third less than Medicaid pays); Obamacare-mandated reductions in payments to hospitals so drastic that hospital prices for both Medicare and Medicaid will be around half those paid by private health insurers by the year 2040 and eventually hospitals will be paid 61 percent less by Medicare and Medicaid than by private health insurers; and physicians eventually will be paid 74 percent less under Medicare than private insurance.
The author argues that Sequestration’s $85 billion appears small compared to the overall federal budget, but doctors and hospitals are already suffering financially. A September 2012 analysis by Tripp Umbach claims that the 2 percent Medicare cut may result in the loss of 496,000 jobs in 2013.
Under Obamacare, 32 health care systems, known as the pioneers, are attempting to move Medicare away from paying doctors for volume and toward paying for value. Some health care systems testing this Accountable Care Organization model have asked Medicare to rethink its benchmarks for the program.
A TV commercial presented by an insurance industry trade group called the Coalition for Medicare Choices attempts to dissuade the government from imposing a 2.3% cut in federal payments to Medicare Adantage programs in 2014. However, the commercial fails to mention that the payment cuts are aimed at insurers, not beneficiaries.
Conservative health policy thinkers Holtz-Eakin and Avik Roy propose that Republicans embrace a system whose goal is to transition Americans into a system of regulated, subsidized, individual plans modeled on the Switzerland approach. In other words, they want Republicans to surrender. But they do want to reduce the subsidies by loosening regulations that make the insurance plans stingier, but slowly raise the Medicare eligibility age, so that over time an increasing share of the elderly population will be covered by Obamacare rather than Medicare. Finally, they want to transition low-income Americans out of Medicaid and into the Obamacare exchanges. All of this would reduce the amount of tax revenue needed to finance Obamacare.