You know how we keep saying things will get worse for Obamacare? They will.
To help pay for Obamacare for illegal aliens, among others, Barack Obama raided Medicare for $700 billion.
The most salient fact is that, to pass Obamacare, the president cut Medicare by more than $700 billion over the coming decade, according to the Congressional Budget Office (CBO). And these cuts are of the worst kind. They are arbitrary and across the board. They reduce reimbursement rates for all who provide services to Medicare patients, regardless of how well or badly they treat their patients. Among the cuts is a $156 billion reduction in payments to Medicare Advantage plans over ten years. These cuts will force seniors to pay $3,700 more for their health care by 2017, according to a study I co-authored with Robert Book (for those who might be interested, the cuts are distributed by congressional district here). The Medicare trustees project that the cuts will drive some 4 million seniors out of Medicare Advantage plans between 2012 and 2018.
Further, the Medicare cuts in Obamacare would slash payment rates for hospitals, so much so that the chief actuary of the program has warned repeatedly that the cuts will jeopardize access to care for seniors. He has estimated that if the cuts go into effect, 15 percent of hospitals and nursing homes will have to stop taking Medicare patients to avoid the large financial losses that result from getting paid at Medicare rates. By 2030, some 25 percent of these institutions would need to drop out of the Medicare program.
Moreover, as Charles Blahous has pointed out, the Medicare cuts in Obamacare aren’t used exclusively to replenish the trust funds that pay Medicare benefits. Instead, they are used to pay for a massive expansion in entitlement spending. To put it in slightly more political terms, President Obama has raided Medicare for $700 billion to pay for his government takeover of American health care. The attack ad practically writes itself, and in fact has now already been written.
The day of reckoning is upon seniors- January 1.
As if ObamaCare’s botched website, coverage cancellations, and higher costs were not bad enough, the Obama Administration has quietly dealt yet another blow – this time striking millions of the nation’s most vulnerable seniors. Specifically, the Obama Administration has decided to deeply cut funding for the Medicare program’s home health benefit as a way to help pay for ObamaCare.
The Administration made this announcement very quietly, waiting to do so until the very end of the last Friday before Thanksgiving, perhaps thinking that most people would not be looking.
To be sure, the timing of the Administration’s quiet announcement did keep it out of sight – for a while. That ended on December 12th, however, when the Washington Examiner broke the story in an article headlined “ObamaCare forcing 14 percent cut in Medicare’s home health program.” FOX News and the Daily Caller have also picked up this story, so full attention is now being paid to this unprecedented cut – and the harm it will do to frail seniors across America.
As the Examiner’s Richard Pollock wrote, “An estimated 3.5 million poor and ill homebound senior citizens will wake up on New Year’s Day to discover ObamaCare has slashed funding for their home health care program.” He’s right: on January 1st, the Obama Administration will sharply cut Medicare funding for home healthcare services.
That has been known to some extent for a while, but there’s more bad news:
Hidden on page 117 of the regulation that the Obama Administration quietly released on that Friday evening is a stunning admission: “approximately 40 percent” of all providers of home health services face net losses as a result of this Medicare cut. Put more plainly, 4-in-10 of all the providers on whom homebound seniors depend face the threat of bankruptcy and closure as a result of ObamaCare.
To my knowledge, this is the first time that any regulation has been issued by any Administration with the knowledge that it would put nearly half of the people it impacted out of business. Indeed, this ObamaCare cut to Medicare is so severe that thousands of small businesses may be forced to close, and hundreds of thousands of quality jobs could be lost – directly impacting the millions of homebound seniors who depend on them.
The impact that ObamaCare’s Medicare cut will have on seniors, families and small businesses is widely projected to be severe. What is not yet known, however, is the impact this cut will have on U.S. politics. In 2010, the revelation that ObamaCare would slash Medicare funding so angered senior voters, that they helped give Republicans control of the U.S. House of Representatives. Now that these cuts are being imposed, the Democrats who voted for the Affordable Care Act face the possibility of losing their Senate majority when senior voters return to the polls in November.
Indeed, with Medicare so negatively impacted by ObamaCare, an important question will soon be put to the millions of seniors, families, and providers who care deeply about home health: what answer will they have to ObamaCare’s New Year’s Day surprise?
Doug Ross created an illustrative cartoon about this:
Fictional stories, and especially science fiction, depend largely on something called “willing suspension of disbelief.” You have to accept something as true that you know is certainly untrue for the story to work. We have seen that come to pass with regard to Obamacare. The notion that you could keep your doctor, keep your plan, keep your hospital, keep your drugs, cover and additional 40 million people and lower costs for everyone was simply impossible. That didn’t stop the believers from buying into the fantasy. Obama could have told them unicorns were going to make it happen and they would have bought it. Obama is really big on creating pie in the sky, but is inept at making ladders tall enough to reach it.
The younger and more naïve thought this would all happen without their having to make any sacrifice. Liberals thought that someone else was going to pay for all this, just not them.
Barack Obama’s mouth wrote checks his ego can’t cash, and now seniors will help pick up the tab.
As bad as Obama claimed our health care system was, he’s done something quite memorable. He’s made it worse.