This is something we need to be talking about IMO. The Republicans are talking about Balanced Budget Amendments and introducing legislation like the “Commitment to American Prosperity Act” (CAP).
I was at the Lewin Groups website today because I was trying to make an arguement and I was told that CBO is leftist organization that lies all the time. I went to Lewin to point out that they said the same thing (which BTW was that "the less you rely on private insurance, the lower overall healthcare costs will be").
But this is what caught me:
Concern over the growing deficit has resulted in the introduction of several legislative proposals in Congress to limit the growth in federal spending. The “Commitment to American Prosperity Act” (CAP) is one of several bills that would do so by setting a specific target or cap beyond which spending would not be allowed to grow. The CAP Act would limit federal spending so that by 2021, total spending would be reduced from a projected 24 percent of gross domestic product (GDP) under current law to about 20.8 percent of the GDP under the CAP Act.
The Act includes a “sequestration” procedure that would automatically cut spending across all federal programs in any year where spending is projected to exceed the spending cap. The process is designed to allocate the greatest cuts to programs experiencing the greatest growth, which would concentrate the cuts among major mandatory programs such as Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid. Because the spending cap is set based on spending, changes in taxes could not be used to reduce the level of cuts required.
key findings include:
- Spending under mandatory programs would be reduced by 14.3 percent over the 2013
through 2021 period. Cuts for major programs over his period would be:
-- $1.3 trillion in Social Security;
-- $859 billion under Medicare; and
-- $575 billion in federal Medicaid payments to states.
- By 2019, Social Security benefit payments would be reduced by 19 percent;
- The reductions in spending for Social Security and other cash assistance programs would increase the number of people living below the Federal poverty Level (FPL) by:
2.3 million people by 2014, including 1.1 million age 65 or older;
3.8 million people by 2021, including 2.1 million age 65 or older; and
About 350,000 children would fall below the FPL over the period.
The number of people age 65 and older living below the FPL would increase by:
1.1 million seniors in 2014, an increase of 29 percent; and
2.1 million seniors by 2021, an increase of 44 percent.
The number of uninsured would increase by 5.1 million people due to reductions in the amount of the premium tax credit created under the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and Premium increases due to increased cost shifting;
Reductions in government spending for healthcare would reduce employment in the healthcare sector by up to 1.3 million jobs by 2021, primarily in support positions.
Payments to all health providers from Medicare would be reduced by an average of 14.3 percent over the 2013 through 2021 period;
The cuts in federal Medicaid payments to states would likely be passed-on to providers in the form of reduced payments under the Medicaid program, averaging 8.1 percent over the 2013 through 2021 period;
These cuts in payment under government healthcare programs would reduce total provider revenues by 5.3 percent over the 2013 through 2021 period; Total provider revenue reductions for major healthcare provider groups would be:
6.2 percent for hospitals;
4.2 percent for physicians;
6.5 percent for nursing homes; and
5.5 percent for home health providers.
The cuts in physician reimbursement under the CAP Act would reduce patient access under Medicaid and Medicare beneficiaries, resulting in a reduction the number services supplied by physicians by 11 percent under Medicare and 4 percent under Medicaid;
If implemented together with the scheduled physicians cuts of 29.5 percent in 2012 under the sustainable growth rate formula, we estimate that:
Medicare payment levels would be at or below Medicaid payment levels in most states, which are already so low that many physicians do not participate in Medicaid; and
The supply of services for Medicare beneficiaries would fall by up to 24 percent.
Because Medicaid pays for about half of all long-term care spending nationally, the cuts in Medicaid could have a significant impact on access to long-term care services. By 2021, total long-term care provider revenues would be reduced by:
8.3 percent for nursing home care;
11.6 percent for home health care; and
9.3 percent for home and community-based care programs.
Annual premiums for private insurance will increase by $721 per worker by 2021 through cost shifting. Studies show that about 40 percent of payment cuts for public programs are passed back to privately insured people in the form of increased charges, in a process called cost shifting;
The number of Medicare beneficiaries covered under Medicare Advantage plans would fall by 1.6 million people due to cuts in payments to health plans under the CAP Act (averaging 14.3 percent over the 2013 through 2021 period);
This analysis demonstrates that legislation using across-the-board budget cuts to meet arbitrary federal spending caps can have extremely serious consequences for the most vulnerable members of our society. Changes to programs that aged, disabled and poor people rely upon for sustenance and healthcare must be considered explicitly in the context of their impacts on the beneficiary.
I havent read any but the opening of this. The Lewin Group is owned by United HealthGroup and they are pro business and conservative but they have been pointing out that reliance on private insurance only raises costs. Their opening (which I have included nearly all of here) is downright scary.
Republicans only seem to have one answer: We spend until it runs out and then we all hibernate until the new year. Thats what the donut hole is. Thats what block grants are all about. Thats what the Balanced Budget amendemnt is all about (guessing there - I havent read any of their proposals - I only know the key concept -- its CAP).
People dont work this way and its no way to solve problems. People who need healthcare cant just stop when their money runs out. There are much better ways of solving our problems.
The latest Republican proposals could turn us into an even more militant nation. Spending would first go to the debt and then to national defense. If there was money left over then maybe we could spend on the welfare of the nation. When the money runs out though...everybody just ...???...dies? hibernates?