The health care reform bill will raise costs. I mean, who would have predicted that?
But the analysis also found that the law falls short of the president’s twin goal of controlling runaway costs. It also warned that Medicare cuts may be unrealistic and unsustainable, driving about 15% of hospitals into the red and “possibly jeopardizing access” to care for seniors.
The mixed verdict for Obama’s signature issue is the first comprehensive look by neutral experts.
In particular, the warnings about Medicare could become a major political liability for Democratic lawmakers in the midterm elections. Seniors are more likely to vote than younger people and polls show they are already deeply skeptical of the law.
Of course, we should wait, as this information has not been blessed by The One.
The report from Medicare’s Office of the Actuary carried a disclaimer saying it does not represent the official position of the Obama administration. White House officials have repeatedly complained that such analyses have been too pessimistic and lowball the law’s potential to achieve savings.
That mean old math making people pessimistic.
In addition to flagging the cuts to hospitals, nursing homes and other providers as potentially unsustainable, it projected that reductions in payments to private Medicare Advantage plans would trigger an exodus from the popular program. Enrollment would plummet by about 50%, as the plans reduce extra benefits that they currently offer. Seniors leaving the private plans would still have health insurance under traditional Medicare, but many might face higher out-of-pocket costs.
In another flashing yellow light, the report warned that a new voluntary long-term care insurance program created under the law faces “a very serious risk” of insolvency.
I guess we’ll just need another bill to fix this one. I trust them, don’t you?