Monday, July 26, 2010

The ObamaCare Screwing of the Elderly and Disabled Begins

The current system of healthcare where government and businesses are major providers of healthcare "insurance" is a system that started as a result of wage controls during World War II. Before that individuals took care of their own health care. Employers attempting to get around wage controls offered to pay for employee health insurance.

From that start, the cut was made between individuals taking care of their own healthcare needs, and it slowly developed into the current sustem.

The current system is a mess and we should really revert back to individuals taking care of their own health care and insurance. That said, there are many people, especially the elderly, who planned for their old age with the idea that government would provide for their healthcare. The belief that government is going to provide for them is now being proved to be just another government lie. Like  home ownership and the education system, the structure of the healthcare system is collapsing---all three sectors have heavy government involvement.

In what appears to be an attempt to buy votes, ObamaCare is shifting funds allocated for healthcare away from the elderly toward the young. Specifically the young who, for whatever reason, have chosen not to obtain health care on their own, but who certainly are in a much better position to earn the money for healthcare, then the elderly.

Here's WSJ on what is going on:

Across the country, dozens of private insurers that run....Medicare plans are preparing to pare dental, vision and certain prescription-drug coverage starting next year, according to consultants who have helped them assemble annual bids.

Although some planned cuts might not materialize given Congress's history of tabling unpopular measures, the law represents the tip of a broader change. Most Americans know the overhaul is designed to cover the uninsured, a decades-long goal of Democrats. But it also represents a change in how the government spreads its social safety net underneath Americans. Already, it's creating tensions that are a harbinger of debates to come.

Since the creation of Social Security and Medicare, younger workers have funded programs for the elderly. It's a compact in which workers paid for retirees with the understanding that they'd be looked after by the generation behind them.

The health overhaul diverges by tapping a program for the elderly to help provide insurance to 32 million Americans of younger generations. Nearly half the funding for the law is supposed to come from paying lower fees to hospitals, insurers and other health-care providers that participate in Medicare, the federal insurance program for Americans age 65 and older, as well as younger disabled people.

The 44 million Americans on Medicare won't see changes to their guaranteed benefits under the law. But of those, 11.3 million on Medicare Advantage plans, a public-private hybrid ... are likely to begin seeing extra benefits go away as soon as next year. Medicare Advantage cuts are slated to pay for 15% of the health-care law's tab...

"I'm sure that some of those additional benefits have been nice," Nancy-Ann DeParle, who runs the White House's Office of Health Reform, says of Medicare Advantage plans. "But I think what we have to look at here is what's fair and what's important for the strength of the Medicare program long term."...

John Gorman, a consultant who helped insurers prepare bids, says his clients are planning to raise non-essential emergency room co-pays to $500 from $200. They're pushing enrollees toward generic drugs and charging more for optometrist visits...

Humana, which administers Medicare Advantage plans to 1.75 million seniors, is trying to pare 15% of its overall costs, in part to offset lower expected government payments.

"There's no question that either premiums go up or either benefits go down over the long term," said Michael B. McCallister, Humana's president and CEO. "Everything is on the table.
Remember, this is just the beginning. With greater government involvement in healthcare, price signals will be distorted. Instead of individuals making decisions about their own healthcare, the decisions will ultimately be made by the lobbyists who are best able to capture health regulators. Think in terms of more useless H1N1 vaccines, versus medical innovation like the technological innovation that comes out of Silicon Valley.

With payments being made on useless products and near useless products, the payments to the elderly and disabled will continue to shrink, as will the services to the young. Think long-lines,waiting lists and poorer quality treatment.

1 comment:

  1. Moody’s Downgrades West Penn Allegheny Health Systems Forcing Layoff Of 1,500

    Alexander Demir and Samuel Davidson of relate that West Penn Allegheny Health Systems, WPAHS, announced in June the layoff of 1,500 doctors, nurses, aides and other staff at its 98-year-old flagship West Penn Hospital in Pittsburgh’s Bloomfield neighborhood, Currently some 2,400 people work at the facility.

    WPAHS said that the layoffs and closure of services were necessary to offset $80 million in losses sustained by the health system in the past two years, although the hospital’s finances improved in the last quarter. The job cuts were announced a few days after both Moody’s Investors Services and Standard & Poor’s announced a downgrading of the health system’s bond ratings.

    Underlying the layoffs at West Penn Allegheny Health Systems is the reorganization of health care due to the expected cuts in Medicare and Medicaid payments that are part of the Obama administration’s health care reform.

    Under the administration’s overhaul of the health care system, approved by Congress, deep cuts will occur in reimbursements to doctors and hospitals for services paid under the Medicare and Medicaid programs.

    A survey of the 29 hospitals that serve the Southwestern Pennsylvanian region shows that all but six received at least half of their net patient revenue from Medicare and Medicaid in 2009. Unsurprisingly, hospitals in urban and rural areas with higher numbers of elderly and poor tend to have the highest percentage of income coming from Medicare and Medicaid.

    West Penn Hospital received 41.2 percent of its net patient revenue from Medicare and 12.2 percent from Medicaid. Health systems are seeking to reduce the number of beds in areas with high numbers of elderly and poor patients, while shifting to more outpatient care where reimbursement rates are higher compared to costs.

    Last January, UPMC closed its hospital in Braddock, Pennsylvania, laying off 900. The 100-year-old hospital was in one of the poorest communities in the Pittsburgh region and much of its revenue came from individuals on Medicare and Medicaid.

    UPMC’s McKeesport hospital, in another of the region’s poorest communities along the Monongahela river, which has never recovered from the steel mill closures in the 1980s, receives more than 70 percent of its revenue from people on Medicare and Medicaid. Many fear that it also is on the chopping block.