Minding Ag's Business
Marcia Zarley Taylor DTN Executive Editor

Monday 12/02/13

Borrowers' Golden Age
Don't get used to the fantasy of cheap credit. The lowest rates in 63 years are behind us.[Read Full Blog Post]
Posted at 5:05PM CST 12/02/13 by Marcia Zarley Taylor | Post a Comment
Comments (26)
Three types of government actions have produced a huge run up in food production costs including land costs. The zirp (zero interest rate policy) has stolen rightful earnings from the elderly and those who save and federal reserve's deflation of our currency policy. Federal crop insurance's mindless actions that have provided insane levels of investment and profit guarantees for growers of select crops. The rfs policy by congress that has driven a extreme amount of acres into corn production. Those who claim that rfs did not affect food prices have no right to complain about lower grain prices when rfs is reduced. Just how is it that government should be driving up food costs up for the poor and driving farmer's food production costs through the roof? Anybody still think that government should be running our health care system?
Posted by W Kuster at 6:51AM CST 12/03/13
Health care is a moral obligation of a wealthy society. It may cost us a little more, maybe we don't need that new $70k turbo diesel pick up.
Posted by Unknown at 8:08PM CST 12/03/13
Denying Americans the private health care policies they were promised they could keep, denying them their doctors of choice, endangering their private personal information on a web site that does not work, forcing them to pay for more make work government employees, forcing them to pay for others health care costs, and forcing them to purchase products that they cannot ever use is not health care but is about big government control. Terrorizing Americans with obamacre hardly helps anyone' s mental health. It is just another government scheme that democrats are using to create more people dependent on government handouts in order to manipulate voters.
Posted by W Kuster at 9:04PM CST 12/03/13
I wonder if Detroit agrees with your comment, Unknown. Add the word"individual" before "private" and I would whole-heartedly agree with your first sentence.
Posted by Bonnie Dukowitz at 6:59AM CST 12/04/13
Why do we have to always leap to abstract talking points, these days? It does not matter if it's interest rates, crop insurance, health insurance, food costs, farm size, RFS or caring for those with less. What is good for one group of people might not good for another group of people - this is nothing new and a fact that we can not ever change. When we over try to correct something like health insurance or food costs, most times we mess it up more because we want to leap to changes rather than correct the system that needs adjusting. One thing for sure - BIG government or more government - can not and never has done any thing well. That is not a leap of abstraction, it is a fact!
Posted by John Finley at 8:48AM CST 12/04/13
Thanks Finley for your abstract talking points.
Posted by W Kuster at 6:24AM CST 12/05/13
Finley, when you say the government has never done anything well, I laugh out loud. You are clearly telling yourself a story. Your perception of government is so far from fact it makes you delusional. Now I agree our current state of government is a complete joke, but at one time our government did many things well that we are still enjoying today. There are some things that private industry cannot effectively deliver to the public, or many things they need to be regulated at because of limited competition, which is where health care comes in at. Our private industry failed us. More competition didn't drive down the price of healthcare. You see, what most normal people realize is that when you are sick, you need to go to the doctor, and you do not care what it costs to make you better. The industry knows this, and takes advantage of it. There is no price discovery, limited competition, hidden costs, and ultimately a service that they know we will use. The government, seeing how this was bankrupting the working poor and middle class, decided that this system need a change and what we have is the PPACA. Is it perfect? Heck no, but it is the start in a fundamental change of healthcare in America. Why should we Americans pay 2-5 times more for similar procedures and products than what they pay in Canada, the UK, and a whole host of other developed countries. Our health care effectiveness is rated 46th in the world, one spot below IRAN! Think about that for a moment.
Posted by Pedro Sanchez at 8:54AM CST 12/05/13
Pedro I did comment wrong about the government. They have done good things but always costing more than it needed to cost. During those times we could as a country afford those higher costs which today we can not being in debt some $17 trillion and going higher each day. I understand our current health system, as my oldest 34 year old son has NO health insurance because of a previous health problem. His wife and two children do but he can not find health insurance that will cover him since his sickness 10 years ago. Rather than destroying our current health system, it would make sense to correct the system one issue at a time. That the way we fix our cars, machinery and buildings - we fix the problem - we don't junk them out for something different each time. Does our current health system need fixing - YES - but not with the Affordable Health Care System. Why do I feel that way? For one strong reason - if the folks in Washington DC that passed the bill don't want to be covered by the plan because they know its not a good health plan. There's an old saying - if a fish stinks from the head down, the whole fish is bad. Obama care stinks from the head down.
Posted by John Finley at 10:09AM CST 12/05/13
You are dreaming Pedro if you think obamacare has anything to do with quality health care and if you think obamacare will be anything other than a massiove failur. See http://www.breitbart.com/Big-Government/2013/12/04/WH-Calendar-Records-A-Single-One-On-One-Meeting-Between-Obama-and-Sebelius
Posted by W Kuster at 11:25AM CST 12/05/13
Info for you Pedro - Obamacare is Already Rationing Health Care, But the Worst is Yet to Come by Carol Tobias | Washington, DC | LifeNews.com | 12/5/13 3:57 PM PrintEmail Opinion 72 Share It�s four years overdue, but America is finally beginning to have the debate about Obamacare we were promised. Barack Obama had assured us � another in his long series of broken promises � that the meetings held to devise the plan would be televised on C-SPAN. Americans would have every opportunity to know what the law is, and how it would affect them. That never happened. The law was put together behind closed doors. Nancy Pelosi later arrogantly told us �we have to pass the law so you can know what�s in it.� Now we�re finding out. National Right to Life was a lone early voice exposing how the law would cause rationing of life-saving care. But Obamacare supporters have mocked the claim. Their standard line has been �the ACA is designed to expand coverage, not reduce it.� But that�s only one part of the law. Central to this overhaul of our healthcare system is a harsh regime of rationing � denial of care. And it�s finally being admitted. _______________ Americans don�t yet realize the law will prevent you from spending your own money to get treatments deemed �ineffective� in an Orwellian way by the unelected, largely unaccountable IPAB board. _______________ Last summer, former Vermont governor, Democratic presidential candidate, physician and Obamacare supporter Howard Dean made headlines when he spilled the beans. The Independent Payment Advisory Board set up by Obamacare, Dean said, was �essentially a health care rationing board.� Further clarification about the role of this board, known as IPAB, came in a series of interviews and tweets last week by Time magazine Senior Political Analyst Mark Halperin. Coming from an avowed supporter of universal coverage, as Halperin is, the interviews were very instructive, containing insights every American should know. Halperin first discussed rationing on a November 25th Newsmax TV program. �It�s built into the plan. It�s not like a guess or like a judgment. That�s going to be part of how costs are controlled.� Later that day, Halperin clarified in a tweet that his comments were not about so-called �death panels,� as the show�s host had termed it, but about rationing. This is an important distinction for pro-lifers to understand so we (unlike Obama) are completely clear and honest about what the Affordable Care Act does when we discuss it with others. �Death Panels� vs. broad government-generated rationing in the ACA The British National Health Service (NHS) has appeals committees to review �individual funding requests.� They meet to determine whether treatments in a specific case will or won�t be paid for by the government health care system, NHS. These have sometimes been termed �death panels� because if a patient needs a treatment to save or extend his life and can�t afford to pay for it himself, a verdict of �no� by the committee means the patient could die � hence, the term �death panel.� Obamcare�s Independent Payment Advisory Board (IPAB) will not operate this way. It won�t review individual cases; in fact, the law is written to preclude this type of direct rationing. That�s why some Obamacare supporters protest that the law actually bars IPAB from rationing. But Obamacare actually gives IPAB far more power to ration than if it was acting as judge and jury to individual patients. Broadly speaking, IPAB is given sweeping powers to recommend to the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) whether and how whole categories of treatments are to be reimbursed � and is required to use these powers to prevent overall health care spending from being allowed even to keep up with medical inflation. Thus, they can (in fact, it is their job to) limit reimbursement and ration care from thousands or millions of people at a time. For example, IPAB might decide that a new, promising treatment for breast cancer is not �cost-effective,� given the board�s calculation of the number of lives it might save versus the cost to offer the treatment. HHS might then issue a �quality measure� binding on health care providers that does not authorize use of the treatment. Effectively, HHS would have the power to drive most doctors out of business if they ignore its directives to ration. Women who might have been saved by the new treatment would die if the older, cheaper treatments don�t cure them. Halperin was open about the law�s intention to ration in a follow-up interview on CNBC last Tuesday. �Those decisions that are made by that board are going to lead to what I think could be described perfectly reasonably as rationing, � Halperin said. �Again, as I said, that�s built into the system.� �The Independent Payment Advisory Board, which is a big part of the Affordable Care Act that is central to cost control, is something that hasn�t been debated in a real way . . . we need to have that debate in this country.�
Posted by W Kuster at 7:20PM CST 12/05/13
For those who glossed over WK's "War and Peace" diatribe above, let me shorten it for you: he don't like the Affordable Care Act.
Posted by Unknown at 8:49PM CST 12/05/13
Cheap interest is the only means of financing more government programs. Such hidden taxes as the trillion dollar increase built into Obamadon'tcare package can not be absorbed by what is left of the working, middle class. I am not anti-government.
Posted by Bonnie Dukowitz at 5:48AM CST 12/06/13
Cheap interest is the only means of financing more government programs. Such hidden taxes as the trillion dollar increase built into Obamadon'tcare package can not be absorbed by what is left of the working, middle class. I am not anti-government.
Posted by Bonnie Dukowitz at 5:50AM CST 12/06/13
After more Americans attend funerals of people whose premature deaths are caused by lack of care due to obamacare maybe their eyes will be opened.
Posted by W Kuster at 8:09AM CST 12/06/13
W Kuster, if you think a hospital will refuse to take your money for a procedure because it is not covered under insurance, I have a bridge to sell you. STOP listening to the propoganda the right is spewing and believing it verbatime. Don't believe everything the left is spewing. Do some research on the subject and form a real opinion. Point in case, my parents premium is going from $1200/month to $750/month on Blue Cross Blue Shield plan (the were with BCBS before too) for the same health plan deductible but more coverage. If the PPACA wouldn't have came out, they would have been continued to pay more for less, even though I don't think my Mom will be having a baby anytime soon :). United Health Care, one of the largest providers of insurance in the country just released its next years estimated earnings and they said the PPACA was going to cost them $1 billion in earnings, but it was only going to change the earnings per share from $5.60 to $5.40. I think the insurance companies will be ok.
Posted by Pedro Sanchez at 10:33AM CST 12/06/13
I guess you missed this Pedro - if doctors are not available and procedures cannot be done it does not matter how much money you have available to pay the hospital unless you are able to travel far. See Physician says Obamacare is causing 'chaos' for doctors Text Size Published: Tuesday, 3 Dec 2013 | 12:00 AM ET By: Ben Thompson | Senior segment producer for the Kudlow Report Poor situation for Obamacare: Pro Monday, 2 Dec 2013 | 7:25 PM ET Paul Howard, senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute, and Dr. William Grace, assistant professor at New York Medical College and a physician at Lenox Hill Hospital, discuss problems on the Obamacare exchanges. The administration is furiously trying to rectify another Obamacare issue: faulty enrollment data that could soon become a significant headache for consumers and insurers. The latter say much of the information they have received is practically useless, which means some consumers might not be able to get access to benefits on Jan. 1, the date their coverage is scheduled to take effect. Dr. Bill Grace, founder of Grace Oncology in NYC and an assistant professor of clinical medicine at New York Medical College, told CNBC Monday night that the enrollment problems also are causing significant problems for doctors. "Right now that back end is in chaos. â?¦ We don't even know if we should sign up for these plans, because we have a suspicion that many of [them] offer very little reimbursement or offer a loss to the physicians who are going to see these patients," Grace told Larry Kudlow on CNBC's "Kudlow Report". "No physician wants to take money out of his pocket and put it in the government's." (Read more: Obamacare enrollment error rate still secret as more sign up) The Centers for Medicaid & Medicare Services, which is responsible for running the federal Obamacare website, has refused to reveal how many sign-ups have software-related errors that could delay enrollees' coverage. The administration released a 50-state report Tuesday morning saying that nearly 1.5 million people had been found eligible for Medicaid during October, far outpacing enrollment eligibility in subsidized private coverage. But as Obamacare puts more people in the Medicaid system, Grace said fewer doctors are treating Medicaid patients. "The problem is, who's going to care for you when you have Medicaid?" he said. "For an hour-and-15-minute evaluation of a cancer patient, I get $6.50. That won't even pay for the electricity. What kind of physician will you get ... what kind of specialist will you get?" Doctors are "already leaving in droves from accepting Medicare," he said. "They're going to concierge practices. They're limiting the number of Medicare patients they take. They're taking only commercial insurance plans, and the premier physicians are taking no insurance at all." (Read more: Insurers claim health website is still flawed) Obamacare's website troubles have resulted in enrollment numbers significantly lower than administration officials had hoped. It's questionable whether the program will reach the 7 million sign-ups the Congressional Budget Office predicted. The sign-up period runs through March. Grace told CNBC that the biggest problem with Obamacare is that patients don't have skin in the game. He offered this health-care fix as an alternative. "I'd give everybody at birth a health savings account, because it makes everybody a capitalist. People make poor health care choices and want somebody else to bail them out. When they own the plan, they begin to make healthy ... choices. " â?�By CNBC's Ben Thompson. Follow him on Twitter @BenThompson00.
Posted by W Kuster at 12:04PM CST 12/06/13
More reading material for you Pedro- ObamaCare for the Vast Majority By Janice Shaw Crouse ObamaCare was sold to the nation as a compassionate response to the approximately 47 million uninsured Americans. Yet, 30 million Americans will still not be insured even after the frenetic misrepresentation and bribery required to pass the bill and the botched rollout. Plus, the policies of millions of insured Americans are being cancelled and replaced with HHS "approved" policies that have higher premiums. Then, following the wipeout in the individual market, millions of Americans currently covered by employer-provided plans will have their policies cancelled because they are deemed inadequate and unacceptable under the ObamaCare regulations issued by HHS. Health Journal reports, "The ACA will leave tens of millions uncovered. It will do little to alter racial disparities in coverage. It will also perpetuate disparities in access based on state of residence. The ACA, whatever its merits, will fall well short of its stated goal of providing affordable care for all Americans." The situation makes a travesty of the president's oft-repeated promise that the "vast majority" of Americans will be able to keep their current health insurance coverage. Instead, the "vast majority" of Americans will be paying for mandated services they don't need or want; millions will find they cannot access their doctors; and their satisfaction with their health care services will diminish drastically. Instead of "stronger, better, more secure" insurance coverage, there are reports of widespread security issues on the ObamaCare website and sweeping changes that are leaving policy-holders reeling. Politicians have long worried about the financial sustainability of the Medicare/Medicaid programs, but, since employees pay into the programs in order to have benefits in their senior years, most politicians wouldn't dare suggest making cuts to these programs. Drastic changes to Medicare and Medicaid are buried in ObamaCare; its provisions will bring an estimated one-in-five Americans into government-run medical welfare by increasing Medicaid by nearly 16 million individuals. Further, ObamaCare "strips more than 10 million extremely satisfied seniors of their Medicare Advantage." Diane Furchtgott-Roth and other economists have carefully laid out how Medicare and Medicaid beneficiaries will inevitably get lower standards of care under ObamaCare. These changes primarily (Who is waging a 'War on Women'?) affect women, who make up 69 percent of Medicaid recipients and will be "disadvantaged" by being required to accept Medicaid rather than a refundable tax credit to purchase a private plan. There were plenty of warnings (see for example my CWA report, Obamanomics: Summary of the Analyses and Commentary Related to the Financial Impact of ObamaCare on Women and Families) that the new law would raise health-care costs substantially and lead to reduced quality of medical services. Now we know that ObamaCare includes $156 billion in cuts to plans and services provided to the seniors enrolled in Medicare Advantage plans. One large provider, UnitedHealth Group, claims that it has dropped thousands of doctors because of "substantial funding pressure" from the federal government. These cuts are occurring at the same time that ObamaCare is dramatically expanding enrollment of the poorest and most vulnerable Americans into the Medicaid program. We heard speech after speech about how ObamaCare was going to bend the cost curve down, but it's hard to understand how anyone would fail to see that a massive increase in demand combined with shrinkage in supply would push up costs. Among the "vast majority" who will experience negative consequences from ObamaCare are small business owners. Several economists have pointed out that small business owners, who hire predominantly low-income workers, will be penalized and their employees are "disproportionately likely to be high school dropouts, minority, and female." Further, up to 80 percent of small-business owners could lose their health-care plans because they don't comply with the mandates of ObamaCare. Medium-size businesses -- which we desperately need more of to provide employment opportunities for the millions looking for work -- are instead reducing personnel to get below 50 full-time employees in order to avoid having to provide health insurance. The ramifications don't look good for unemployment figures that are already disastrously low. The "vast majority" of Americans will pay for these ramifications, including an add-on estimated at about $63 per employee that goes into a fund to cover preexisting conditions. Did anyone think that the money for such coverage would come out of thin air? Everyone except those receiving government subsidies will be paying higher premiums while having higher deductibles, fewer options and less coverage. The "vast majority" of Americans view ObamaCare as an unmitigated disaster that will pile on to an already insurmountable debt and cause government to encroach further and further into areas of our lives that should remain personal, private, and under our own control. Unless it is overturned, ObamaCare will strip us step-by-step of the right to make our own decisions. Health care rationing resulting in pain and even premature death will be concealed from public view as long as possible to prevent an outcry; but as in Canada, England, and elsewhere, it is inevitable. ObamaCare carries with it a massive expansion of government bureaucracy, with 159 new commissions, boards, and agencies created by the bill, adding even more barriers between the caregiver and the patient. That such a contrivance could possibly contribute to bettering health care making it more affordable is simply beyond comprehension. The more we learn about ObamaCare's specific provisions, the more we discover that the bill does not reflect our values -- faith, family, and freedom -- nor does it strengthen those principles of personal responsibility, self-reliance and respect for the life and liberty of the individual that are the foundation of a great nation. The politicians in Washington already know what ObamaCare entails and have accordingly exempted themselves from it; we can only pray that the vast majority of Americans will swiftly come to see the actual reality of ObamaCare and refuse to elect any politician who will not vote to repeal it. Janice Shaw Crouse, Ph.D., is Executive Director and Senior Fellow of Concerned Women for America's Beverly LaHaye Institute.
Posted by W Kuster at 12:29PM CST 12/06/13
Would DTN please consider restricting the length of the comments. I thought this was Marcias" blog.
Posted by Bonnie Dukowitz at 7:45AM CST 12/07/13
Perhaps Bonnie this could remedy your intolerance for just a couple of paragraphs - see http://speed-reading-review.toptenreviews.com/
Posted by W Kuster at 4:42PM CST 12/07/13
I even like a few pages, if it is the Editors and she stays on topic.
Posted by Bonnie Dukowitz at 6:33PM CST 12/07/13
It should be obvious that those in government addicted to spending borrowed money or printed money that has come at no apparent cost are totally enthused about spending trillions more on a still greater government disaster called obamacare. Free money has been free candy for those growing big government.
Posted by W Kuster at 7:44AM CST 12/08/13
Dear Readers: I've been at the Ag Summit this week, not minding the store. This evolved from interest rates into another Obamacare discussion, but stay tuned for a new posting on what you missed soon.--Marcia
Posted by Marcia Taylor at 5:17PM CST 12/11/13
Kuster, if you think doctors don't make money on Medicaid/Medicare, you should take a drive to Florida or Arizona and check out their medical facilities. Do you think it is coincidence that the Mayo clinic has 2 outreach posts in each of those states where they are snowbird havens? Talk all you want about the PPACA being a joke. From my personal situation, and the people I work with, and speaking with other friends about their situation, the ACA has done more good than harm. The other biggest lie out there from the healthcare industry is that they can't make money on the Medicaid and Medicare. It is a flat out lie. Sure it takes them longer to recoup their investment in equipment buildings, but they are not going broke.
Posted by Pedro Sanchez at 9:23AM CST 12/12/13
How unfortunate some do have enough integrity to even read and consider the Editors contibution. Marcia, I apologize for the assinine idiots who abuse the opportunity offered by you and DTN.
Posted by Bonnie Dukowitz at 6:25PM CST 12/12/13
Pedro - You are drinking too much of that obama koolaid. Obamacare cheerleaders are on thin ice when they complain about opponents lying about obamacare. See http://www.healthcaretechnologyonline.com/doc/doctors-refuse-to-accept-medicare-patients-0001 See http://www.forbes.com/sites/scottatlas/2012/12/18/lets-be-honest-medicare-is-insolvent-and-doctors-soon-wont-accept-it/ See http://www.kaiserhealthnews.org/stories/2012/august/06/third-of-medicaid-doctors-say-no-new-patients.aspx
Posted by W Kuster at 6:36PM CST 12/12/13
Ten Broken Obamacare Promises By Alyene Senger Since the passage of Obamacare in 2010, many of the President�s famous promises have been routinely broken. As he so ironically threatened in 2009, �If you misrepresent what�s in this plan, we will call you out.�[1] To that end, here are 10 promises of Obamacare that have already proved to be broken. Promise #1: �If you like your health care plan, you�ll be able to keep your health care plan, period.�[2] Reality: Millions of Americans have lost and will lose their coverage due to Obamacare. Obamacare has significantly disrupted the market for those who buy coverage on their own by imposing new coverage and benefit mandates, causing a reported 4.7 million health insurance cancelations of an existing policy in 32 states.[3] For those with employer-sponsored insurance in the group market, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) projects that 7 million fewer people will have employment-based insurance by 2018.[4] Moreover, the Administration itself has admitted that employers would not keep their existing health plans. Federal regulations written in 2010 estimated that 51 percent of small and large employers would lose their �grandfathered status� by 2013�meaning a majority of employers would not keep their existing health plans.[5] Promise #2: �[T]hat means that no matter how we reform health care, we will keep this promise to the American people: If you like your doctor, you will be able to keep your doctor, period.�[6] Reality: Many Americans might not be able to keep their current doctor without paying extra. Many plans offered on Obamacare�s exchanges have very limited provider networks, decreasing the chances consumers will be able to keep their current doctor without paying more money.[7] Furthermore, many Americans who purchase coverage on their own have had their existing health plans changed or canceled due to Obamacare, resulting in some people being unable to keep their current doctors without paying additional money to do so. Due to the significant payment reductions included in Obamacare, seniors with Medicare Advantage plans may be forced to find new doctors. The largest provider of these plans, UnitedHealth, has recently reduced its provider networks in several states.[8] Promise #3: �In an Obama administration, we�ll lower premiums by up to $2,500 for a typical family per year.�[9] Reality: Premiums for people purchasing coverage in the individual market have significantly increased in a majority of states. A Heritage analysis shows that, on average, consumers in 42 states will see their premiums in the exchanges increase, many by over 100 percent.[10] For people with employer-sponsored coverage, costs also continue to increase. For families, premiums from 2009 to 2013 have increased by an average of $2,976.[11] Promise #4: �[F]or the 85 and 90 percent of Americans who already have health insurance, this thing�s already happened. And their only impact is that their insurance is stronger, better and more secure than it was before. Full stop. That�s it. They don�t have to worry about anything else.�[12] Reality: Obamacare imposes certain new benefit mandates on those with employer-sponsored coverage�a majority of Americans. These mandates increase the cost of coverage. In fact, federal regulations written in 2010 assumed �that the increases in insurance benefits will be directly passed on to the consumer in the form of higher premiums. These assumptions bias the estimates of premium changes upward.�[13] But higher premiums not only cost people more money; they have other impacts on coverage as well. For instance, as a response to the direct cost increases associated with Obamacare, UPS dropped coverage for spouses of employees if they are offered coverage through their own employers.[14] Promise #5: �Under my plan, no family making less than $250,000 a year will see any form of tax increase.�[15] Reality: Obamacare contains 18 separate tax hikes, fees, and penalties, many of which heavily impact the middle class. Altogether, Obamacare�s taxes and penalties will accumulate over $770 billion in new revenue over a 10-year period.[16] Among the taxes that will hit the middle class are the individual mandate tax, the medical device tax, and new penalties and limits on health savings accounts and flexible spending accounts.[17] Promise #6: �I will not sign a plan that adds one dime to our deficits�either now or in the future.�[18] Reality: Obamacare�s new spending is unsustainable. Obamacare was passed into law relying on a wide variety of unrealistic budget projections. A more realistic assessment reveals that it will be a multi-trillion-dollar budget buster. The Government Accountability Office (GAO) estimated the cost of Obamacare over the long term if certain cost-containment measures were overridden. Under that alternative scenario, which assumes that �historical trends and policy preferences continue,� the GAO found that Obamacare would increase the primary deficit by 0.7 percent of gross domestic product (GDP).[19] Senator Jeff Sessions (R�AL) and the Senate Budget Committee staff, who commissioned the GAO report, translated the 75-year percentage estimate into today�s dollar amount, which would be $6.2 trillion over the next 75 years.[20] Promise #7: �[W]hatever ideas exist in terms of bending the cost curve and starting to reduce costs for families, businesses, and government, those elements are in this bill.�[21] Reality: Health spending is still rising and is projected to grow at an average rate of 5.8 percent from 2012 to 2022.[22] While growth in health spending has been slower recently compared to the past, that is largely due to the sluggish economic recovery. Indeed, Obamacare�s new entitlements will help drive greater health spending in 2014 and beyond.[23] Promise #8: �I will protect Medicare.�[24] Reality: Obamacare cuts Medicare spending. Obamacare makes unprecedented and unrealistic payment reductions to Medicare providers and Medicare Advantage plans in order to finance the new spending in the law. The cuts amount to over $700 billion from 2013 to 2022.[25] If Congress allows these draconian reductions to take place, it will significantly impact seniors� ability to access care.[26] Promise #9: �I will sign a universal health care bill into law by the end of my first term as president that will cover every American.�[27] Reality: Millions of Americans will remain uninsured. Despite spending nearly $1.8 trillion in new spending from 2014 to 2023, the law falls far short of universal coverage. Indeed, Obamacare is projected by the CBO to leave 31 million uninsured after a decade of full implementation.[28] Promise #10: �So this law means more choice, more competition, lower costs for millions of Americans.�[29] Reality: Obamacare has not increased insurer competition or consumer choice. In the vast majority of states, the number of insurers competing in the state�s exchange is actually less than the number of carriers that previously sold individual market policies in the state.[30] And at the local level, for 35 percent of the nation�s counties, exchange enrollees will have a choice of plans from only two insurers�a duopoly. In 17 percent of counties, consumers will have no choice�a monopoly�as only one carrier is offering coverage in the exchange.[31] �Alyene Senger is a Research Associate in the Center for Health Policy Studies at The Heritage Foundation.
Posted by W Kuster at 8:31AM CST 12/19/13
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