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Saturday, December 12, 2009

Shocker: Obama Administration's HHS Report: Senate HCR Bill Would Accelerate Rising Costs, Reduce Medicare

There is more bad news about the Senate's health care reform bill. This time it's coming out of Obama's own Department of Health and Human Services:

Dealing an unexpected blow to Senate Democrat's health care bill, administration economists on Friday predicted the overhaul would accelerate rising costs of health insurance and medical services, and that its proposed Medicare cuts could reduce care for senior citizens.

A report by analysts at the Health and Human Services Department said the bill would increase the nation's annual spending on health care beyond the current $2.5 trillion at a slightly faster rate than if Congress did nothing. It concluded that new taxes on drugs, medical devices and health insurance plans would trigger higher insurance premiums for consumers.

Don't worry. It gets worse:

The report also said the Democrats' plan to pay for about half of the $1 trillion bill with Medicare cuts "may be unrealistic" and could undermine the Medicare program, warning the bill could force out of business one in five hospitals, nursing homes and home care providers.

Great! In a time of over 10% unemployment and a fragile economy, the Democrats want to pass a bill that will kill one-fifth of one-sixth (3%) of the overall US economy.

The report was prepared by the chief actuary at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, which specializes in long-range cost evaluations for Medicare. It analyzed the total public and private cost of the health care bill over the next 10 years, in contrast to earlier studies by the Congressional Budget Office that said the measure would minimally lower the record-setting federal deficit over the decade.

The effects plan will have catastrophic consequences for our Medicare system and the quality of care for our senior citizens:

Perhaps the most startling revelation in the report, however, was an assessment that cuts to the Medicare program could undermine it.

"Providers for whom Medicare constitutes a substantive portion of their business could find it difficult to remain profitable," the report said. "Absent legislative intervention, [physicians] might end their participation in the program, possibly jeopardizing access to care for beneficiaries."

Of course, Republicans jumped all over this report:

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, Kentucky Republican, said the bill got a "failing grade." He said the report, coupled with a CNN poll on Friday that showed 61 percent of Americans oppose the health care bill, was a seminal moment in the debate.

"How much more do we need to hear before we stop this bill and start over?" Mr. McConnell said.

While the report claims that the bill will marginally reduce the deficit and insure many more Americans, it, also, concedes that it will cripple Medicare and kill one-fifth of one-sixth (3%) of the entire US economy by forcing many hospitals, clinics, etc to close. The closures will throw many doctors, nurses, pharmacists into the unemployment line and cause longer wait times as a result of a lack of qualified medical centers and professionals.

This doesn't seem like progress. We would just be exchanging one crisis with another. Then again, it is Rahmbo's motto to never waste a good crisis. Maybe, it is what they want.

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