Wednesday, January 18, 2017

CBO warns: 18 Million will Lose Insurance, Premiums Skyrocket...for Medicare too.

It's incredibly frustrating watching Rep. Tom Price not "answer" questions at his Senate hearings for his possible position as head of HHS. From adding $10 trillion to the US debt, to gambling with the health of the every American, he's a pure ideologue that will "take a look at" some of the massive problems:
Price said, “I think, as policymakers, it is incumbent upon us to say, ‘What can we do to increase that coverage?’ The goal is to make sure that every single American has that access to coverage that they want for themselves and for their families.” 

Murphy had to point out that Price was conflating two distinct policy outcomes: “I’ll just note that those are two different things, having coverage and having access to coverage, and I think we’ve gone around on that a number of times.”
But just in time, a new CBO report came out that looked specifically at Paul Ryan/Tom Price's repeal/reform health care plan. It's devastating:

1. Republican legislation that guts the Affordable Care Act would cause 18 million people to lose their insurance and would increase premiums of individual plans by about 20 to 25 percent, all within a year of being enacted, a report released today by the Congressional Budget Office estimates.

2. The legislation would destabilize the individual health insurance market, the report cautions, so the effects will “worsen over time.” After roughly two years, the number of uninsured would jump by 27 million and premiums would increase by about 50 percent. If nothing else changes, in ten years, the uninsured would increase by 32 million and premiums would be about double.

3. The CBO estimates that in the first full insurance plan year after (repeal), 10 million people will lose the insurance they got in the individual market, 5 million fewer people will be covered by Medicaid, and 3 million will lose employer-based coverage.

4. Insurance companies would leave the individual insurance market and about 10 percent of Americans will have no options for individual insurance plans.

5. In the second phase, roughly two years after enactment, the plan will eliminate the ACA’s Medicaid expansion and subsidies. This will increase the number of uninsured by 27 million and premiums would be around 50 percent higher. About half of the country will not have access to an individual insurance plan.

6. If no replacement plans are enacted, things will continue to erode by 2026, and about half of the country’s population wouldn’t have access to an individual plan.
You'll hear Republicans say the CBO didn't consider the after effects of reform...but they did.

Another interesting warning is also included in the CBO report: 
CBO Says GOP Medicare Plan Would Double The Cost Of Health Care For Seniors. But because commercial insurers cost more to run than government plans, to privatize Medicare starting in 2022 would actually spark a dramatic increase in how much the nation spends on healthcare for the elderly.

Mostly healthy and young people will exit the insurance pool at this point, leaving a higher proportion of the less healthy and older, who tend to use healthcare more and are thus more expensive to insure. Thus, premiums will increase by about 20 to 25 percent.
Here's an example:
The GOP proposal, which would begin in 2022, involves providing a ‘voucher’ – or as Ryan likes to call it, ‘premium support’ – to seniors to help pay for their health insurance. The average American would receive a check for $8,000, representing roughly what the CBO estimates Medicare would have to fork out for the average beneficiary in 2022. In addition to the government’s costs, the CBO estimates that seniors, in 2022, would lay out about $6,150.00 in out-of-pocket costs in the Medicare system. That totals an average cost of health care for participating seniors, in 2022, to be $14,770.

Under the GOP privatization plan, the cost to purchase the health insurance policy would cost about $20,520 per year – leaving the seniors out of pocket in the amount of $12,510 or more than twice what they would pay in 2022 should the Medicare system we currently have continue.
HEALTH CARE IS NOT A "FREE MARKET" CONSUMER PRODUCT YOU BUY!!!! Insurance is. Here's a really nice way to describe it:
Their traditional response is that by allowing the free-market to work in medicine, everything will take care of itself.

As discussed on this page many times – and by most leading health care economists in the country- the free market does not work in health care because health care is not your typical commodity.

When a patient needs heart surgery, he or she is not going shopping for a bargain price as they might do when purchasing a television set. That patient doesn’t have the luxury of putting off the purchase until later in the year when the prices come down and getting a deal pales in comparison to getting the best surgeon you can find to turn off your heart while it is being fixed.

As anyone who has ever been in this position knows all too well, you don’t pick the surgeon you are entrusting to save your life based on price – you pick that person based on quality and history of success.
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