Obamacare’s Dangers For Seniors

Seniors face an unexpected healthcare broadside: charges for “observation care.” According to a May 21 report in Human Events, older Americans are finding their healthcare skimped on.

Earlier in May, the Obama White House bragged that the Affordable Care Act was increasing care quality for seniors. Nationally, hospital readmission rates are declining because Section 3025 of the ACA penalizes hospitals if a senior is re-admitted within 30 days.

When a senior previously was treated by a hospital and returns (after only a few days) to that hospital, the facility found a way to avoid the penalty. Hospitals simply put the patient under observation. Just a word on a chart? Yes, but a powerful one. Unless the patient is there at least two nights, “The hospital won’t bill Medicare for a stay and the patients gets clobbered with the cost. Many seniors don’t even know they were under observation until they get the bill,” says Human Events.

Also, according to the Human Events report, “The Obama Administration plans to expand the readmissions penalties in 2015 to apply to many more conditions.”

Read more at Human Events.com

Drug Rationing for Seniors Begins

Much coverage has been given to funding cuts to the Medicare Advantage (MA) program. Lost in the controversy is that the Centers for Medicare and Medical Services (CMS) has taken a big step toward medication rationing – targeting elderly patients. In 2003, the Medicare Modernization Act guaranteed all seniors enrolled in the Medicare prescription drug program access to “all or substantially all” medications. President Obama’s healthcare bureaucrats have suggested removing at least three categories of drugs from the list. Possibly slated for removal are: Wellbutrin, Paxil, Prozac, as well as Abilify and Seroquel. CMS contends removing these from the “protected list” represents cost savings.

By Medicare standards, such savings are miniscule, as the Medicare prescription drug program may be the only entitlement whose costs have wound up below initial CBO estimates.

Read more at The American Spectator

LAMBRO: Obamacare Will Hurt Young People Most

Columnist Donald Lambro says that since Obamacare sets limits on charging older customers higher insurance prices than younger and healthier ones, all of those young, healthy people who voted for Obama will see their insurance premiums climb sharply. Lambro says that Obamacare demands insurers provide young people with more medical coverage than they want or need.

Read more at The Washington Times

Obamacare vs. Children’s Health

Scott Gottlieb describes how ObamaCare will force tens of millions of Americans to accept health coverage that is inferior to what they have now. The most threatened groups: small business employees, individuals who buy directly from insurers, seniors who qualify for Medicaid and, surprisingly, children enrolled in the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), a bipartisan program expanded over the past two decades by Obama’s fellow liberals.

Read more at the New York Post

The Future of Free-Market Healthcare

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.

Read more at Reuters