CANADIAN PATIENTS FEEL WAIT OF
Canadians have a health care system that should be the envy of no
one, says Investor's Business Daily (IBD). It's not free, it's
by taxpayers, and it isn't truly universal. Two Canadian Court
justices made this clear three years ago when they concluded that
"access to a waiting list is not access to health care."
Delayed treatment in an overused system has been the root of much
unnecessary suffering, says IBD:
prevent premature deaths and the needless misery that are hallmarks of
Canadian care, the British Columbia Automobile Association began
offering waiting-list insurance to some of its members in August as
part of a pilot program.
- Those who bought the coverage would
receive treatment in a private clinic in British Columbia or the United
States if they were placed on a government care waiting list longer
than 45 days.
- The program, which took two years to develop, never got beyond
the pilot phase, however.
association shut it down when critics howled and government officials
checked to see if such a program was actually legal in Canada.
is an example of a company that's actively soliciting for clients that
have the ability to pay for the privilege of queue-jumping," said
Adrian Dix, a member of B.C.'s Legislative Assembly. "In my view,
in the view of the legal opinion that we obtained, it is illegal, and
it violated both provincial and national health legislation."
HOUSE BILL RAISES, NOT LOWERS, HEALTH CARE COSTS
Actuary in the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services in the Obama
Health and Human Services (HHS) department issued a memorandum this
week looking at the potential impact of the House health reform
legislation (H.R. 3200). As the Associated Press and other media
outlets have been reporting, the study shows that the legislation
would, as President Obama promised, bend the health care cost curve…
but in the wrong direction.
The findings suggest that if the
House legislation were enacted, President Obama would be breaking his
long standing promise that reform would reduce rapidly growing health
care costs, says the Heritage Foundation. Although the President
continually argued that Americans spend too much on health care, and
that under reform they would spend less, the new HHS report finds the
opposite is likely to occur under the House legislation. Here are
key findings from the HHS memorandum:
- The legislation would
increase total national health expenditures in the United States by
about 2.1 percent during the period between 2010 and 2019.
- As a
share of gross domestic product (GDP) health care spending would grow
to 21.3 percent compared to 20.8 estimated under current law.
bill carries a price tag of about $1 trillion dollars (from 2013 to
2019), which does not even represent a full 10-year cost estimate.
measure is likely to deliver only small savings despite the many
provisions intended to reduce the growth in health care costs.
the proposal might cover 34 million uninsured it would still leave 23
million people without coverage, including as many as 18 million
Americans who would remain uninsured and face a new tax penalty.
than 50 percent of the new coverage gains under the bill (18 million
out of 34 million) would come from expansions in the Medicaid program.
40 percent of those obtaining coverage through a newly established
health insurance exchange could be enrolled in the public option.
to the popular Medicare Advantage program for seniors could have the
effect of reducing enrollment by 64 percent, with projected enrollment
in 2014 falling from 13.2 million to only 4.7 million seniors.
told, the plan puts new strains on health care providers which could
lead to price increases, increased cost-shifting onto the privately
insured, and/or compromised access to high quality care.
SCHIP BAIT AND SWITCH
Now that the Baucus Plan has been
introduced as actual legislative language, it is clear more time is
necessary to have a full understanding of the massive 1,500-page health
care reform bill. As members get the opportunity to read the
more problems are likely to emerge on a daily basis, says Dennis G.
Smith, a Senior Fellow with the Heritage Foundation.
the Baucus Plan either puts states into fiscal jeopardy or provides
another budget gimmick to avoid paying the full cost of the legislation
through the treatment of the State Children's Health Insurance Program
(SCHIP). The SCHIP provisions have significant budgetary
for either the federal government or the states, explains Smith:
- Section 1611 of the Baucus Plan provides a new 23 percentage
point increase in the federal funding for SCHIP.
would seem like good news for states, however, under current law, there
are no additional appropriations for SCHIP after 2012 and the Baucus
Plan does not provide any increased funding.
- There is a
budget cliff in 2013 that will cut federal funds for SCHIP in half; in
scoring the Baucus Plan, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) must
assume its current law baseline remains level.
increased federal percentage under Section 1611, states will substitute
the federal dollars for state dollars so long as federal funds are
available. In other words, the federal funds in the SCHIP pipeline will
be spent faster, depleting the funding earlier than what would occur
under current law. When that happens, states will be hit with a
-- reduce SCHIP benefits to lower the overall cost of the program or
switch to Medicaid.
Switching to Medicaid means returning to the regular Medicaid match
of an 88 percent federal match rate as promised by Section 1611, for
example, New York will get only a 50 percent match rate.
states, who have been promised that the federal government would bear
the majority of the cost of the new Medicaid expansion for adults, will
end up paying more than they do under current law for their children.
- To pay for SCHIP reauthorization at enhanced match rates would
likely cost the federal government $40-$50 billion.
the funding out either means the legislation is not really paid for,
which breaks the President's promise to the budget hawks, or it shifts
those costs to the states, says Smith.