Health Care "Reform" Update
Yes, some folks weren’t paying attention and thought all this "free" health care was supposed to kick in the day after The Won(tm) signed it into law. And now buyer’s remorse has hit.
Three weeks after Congress passed its new national health care plan, support for repeal of the measure has risen four points to 58%. That includes 50% of U.S. voters who strongly favor repeal.
The latest Rasmussen Reports telephone survey of likely voters nationwide finds 38% still oppose repeal, including 32% who strongly oppose it.
But while those folks may just not have been fully informed, our Congress folk should certainly have been caught off guard. That’s what we pay them for! And yet…
It is often said that the new health care law will affect almost every American in some way. And, perhaps fittingly if unintentionally, no one may be more affected than members of Congress themselves.
In a new report, the Congressional Research Service says the law may have significant unintended consequences for the “personal health insurance coverage” of senators, representatives and their staff members.
For example, it says, the law may “remove members of Congress and Congressional staff” from their current coverage, in the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program, before any alternatives are available.
The confusion raises the inevitable question: If they did not know exactly what they were doing to themselves, did lawmakers who wrote and passed the bill fully grasp the details of how it would influence the lives of other Americans?
To answer that question, we look to other news items. A few weeks ago, Congress was shocked — SHOCKED — to find companies writing off millions and billions in losses over a federal prescription medicine that was going away. Companies are, by law, required to honestly represent their revenues and liabilities, but Democrats will have none of that, if it reflects poorly on their pet project. But now, a lot of other shoes are starting to drop. At the SayAnything blog:
A starting revelation on the Scott Hennen Show today from Rod St. Aubyn, Director of Government Relations for Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Dakota. St. Aubyn notes that under Obamacare, all polices offered in North Dakota must be approved by the Secretary of Health and Human Services and that this approval process will force BCBS to reduce its insurance offerings from over fifty different policies…to four.
(Audio at the site.) And if you do get insurance, ObamaCare may be doing nothing about its cost.
Public outrage over double-digit rate hikes for health insurance may have helped push President Obama’s healthcare overhaul across the finish line, but the new law does not give regulators the power to block similar increases in the future.
And now, with some major companies already moving to boost premiums and others poised to follow suit, millions of Americans may feel an unexpected jolt in the pocketbook.
Although Democrats promised greater consumer protection, the overhaul does not give the federal government broad regulatory power to prevent increases.
And once you’ve paid for it, good luck finding a doctor.
Experts warn there won’t be enough doctors to treat the millions of people newly insured under the law. At current graduation and training rates, the nation could face a shortage of as many as 150,000 doctors in the next 15 years, according to the Association of American Medical Colleges.
That shortfall is predicted despite a push by teaching hospitals and medical schools to boost the number of U.S. doctors, which now totals about 954,000.
And if you do find a doctor, good luck finding a hospital.
The new health care overhaul law, which promised increased access and efficiency in health care, will prevent doctor-owned hospitals from adding more rooms and more beds, says a group that advocates physician involvement in every aspect of health care delivery.
Physician-owned hospitals are advertised as less bureaucratic and more focused on doctor-patient decision making. However, larger corporate hospitals say doctor-owned facilities discriminate in favor of high-income patients and refer business to themselves.
The new health care rules single out such hospitals, making new physician-owned projects ineligible to receive payments for Medicare and Medicaid patients.
Existing doctor-owned hospitals will be grandfathered in to get government funds for patients but must seek permission from the Department of Health and Human Services to expand.
All this and more (including increased taxes on those making less than $200,000) is summarized in a very informative Wall St. Journal op-ed. Yeah, you can try to paint the WSJ as some right-wing editorial board, but they quote the NY Times, the LA Times; hardly bastions of conservatism.
And so we go back to the question asked by the NY Times, "did lawmakers who wrote and passed the bill fully grasp the details of how it would influence the lives of other Americans?" I think it’s pretty clear they didn’t.
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