President Obama Says Medicare, Medicaid ‘Not In Crisis’
Stanley Feld M.D.,FACP,MACE
The media is the message. President Obama controls the media and his messages come out loud and clear even if they are lies.
On the 50th anniversary of Medicare and Medicaid President Obama said, “Obamacare is “finishing the job” begun by Presidents Kennedy and Johnson”.
President Obama also claims that, “the two federal health care programs are not in crisis, and those who say they’re in trouble are playing politic.”
This is the Saul Alinsky attack method to marginalize your enemies whether they are right or not.
“According to Obama, those who say “Medicare and Medicaid are in crisis” are doing so as “a political excuse to cut their funding, privatize them, or phase them out entirely.”
President Obama was the one that cut Medicare funding not his political enemies.
No one wants to phase out Medicare or Medicaid entirely.
Sensible critics know both programs are not economically sustainable in their present form.
They are suggesting making the recipients of Medicaid and Medicare more responsible for themselves and their care in order to convert each program to an economically sustainable one.
President Obama is the one playing politics. He is using the media via his bully pulpit to proclaim his indefensible message.
Even Medicare actuaries and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services – say both programs are “unsustainable.”
Anyone on Medicaid would be surprised to learn they are receiving “efficient, high quality care” with their difficulties in seeing a doctor and their rapid non-communicative visits.
It is not “efficient high quality care.” Price constraints do not permit efficient high quality care.
President Obama prefers to live in his own fantasy world about this issue as he does with most issues including the Iran nuclear bomb deal.
The current supposed percentage decrease in spending is fiction as I explained in my last post. The decrease in the percentage of the budget deficit is the result of an increase in taxes.
The advantage of tax increases without service increases is about to disappear. Then the budget deficit resulting from Obamacare will skyrocket.
Additionally there will be a doubling of the Medicare population as a result of the aging baby boomers. This increase will require combinations of benefit cuts, eligibility changes and cost-share increases.
All of these changes are occurring right now. Seniors who are aware of the changes only because they are presently receiving care are feeling it and are complaining. Soon a great percentage of seniors will begin complaining.
President Obama will have no hesitation to increase taxes and decrease payment to providers even further.
As baby boomers age into Medicare eligibility, a significant and growing proportion of doctors don’t accept Medicare patients. Many primary care physicians are becoming concierge doctors. They will only accept Medicare patients if the patients pays $2,000 to $30,000 per year to be a member of his panel. Medicare and Medicaid reimbursement is too low. Physicians have to see many patients to make ends meet.
According to the nonpartisan Medicare Payment Advisory Commission, 29% of Medicare beneficiaries who were looking for a primary-care doctor in 2008 already had a problem finding one.
All of this is beyond President Obama’s vision even though it is happening right now.
Obamacare is causing private insurance to become unaffordable for the middle class.
Obamacare’s regulations on pricing and coverage have already forced termination of private health insurance for more than at least five million Americans in the individual insurance market.
The Congressional Budget Office is now projecting that as many as 10 million people will be forced off their chosen employer-based health insurance by 2021.
This increase represents at least a tenfold increase in the 2011 projections at the onset of the law.
“Numerous reports in the top medical journals like Cancer, American Journal of Cardiology, Journal of Heart and Lung Transplantation, and Annals of Surgery clearly show that patients with private insurance have better outcomes than similar patients on government insurance. It is highly likely that restrictions in access to important drugs, specialists and technology account for these differences.”
All one has to think of is the VA hospital system and its scandals to visualize the effect of government bureaucracy and its bureaucrats on a healthcare system.
Another example is the government bureaucracy’s inefficiency in building the web site for the federal health insurance exchanges.
Why are Americans not protesting? Why are Americans letting President Obama get away with destroying the healthcare system?
Medicaid’s problems are more complicated than Medicare’s problems as a result of Obamacare. I have a feeling the Democratic congress that voted for Obamacare is realizing they should have read the law and understood the law before they passed it.
Originally Medicaid was healthcare insurance for people receiving welfare. Obamacare expanded coverage to all people below 138% of the definition of poverty. In most states the yearly salary is below $38,000 per year.
The federal government originally subsidized the states at the 50% level for Medicaid costs. For the next year the subsidy is 100%. Then the federal government will decrease the matching rate to 90% and subsequently to 80%.
States cannot print money to cover their obligations. States must balance their budgets. One of the reasons thirty-seven (37) states opted out of the program is because they would have to increase state taxes even further. Somewhere along the way Medicaid coverage for the poor has to be revised. Medical care is poor and reimbursement is terrible. The poor cannot find doctors. It is unsustainable and medical care needs to be improved.
President Obama keeps on lying to the American public as he tries to protect his “legacy” legislation Obamacare. It has become a legacy history will prove he should not be proud of.
To declare on Medicare’s and Medicaid’s 50th anniversary that both of these programs are not in crisis is a bold faced lie.
Medicare and Medicaid will decimate the federal budget unless something positive is done about these two programs.
Medicare and Medicaid in their present form will crowd out funding for vital priorities like national defense, infrastructure security and homeland safety while failing to deliver on their promises of quality health care at an affordable price for seniors and the poor.
The opinions expressed in the blog “Repairing The Healthcare System” are, mine and mine alone