Obamacare: Turning Medicare into Medicaid
716 billion. Remember, that’s how many dollars Obamacare cuts from Medicare between 2013 and 2022 to pay for the new health-related spending. For seniors, the ratio of cuts to increased benefits is hardly a good deal at 15 to 1. The Heritage Foundation has explained numerous times these cuts will, “absolutely, without a shadow of a doubt” decrease seniors’ access to care.
Now, Forbes reports that in New Hampshire, Virginia, and Florida Medicare patients are feeling the negative impact of Obamacare, with 20%, 23%, and 27% respectively of doctors altogether refusing to accept new Medicare patients. Moreover, many physicians in these states “say that they’ll place new or additional limits on Medicaid patients as a result of the Medicare cuts.”
The numbers are worse when you consider the number of doctors that “intend to place new or additional limits on accepting Medicare patients, because of Obamacare’s impact on the fees that Medicare pays to providers of health-care services.”
It doesn’t matter to the left whether the quality or accessibility of medical care is greatly diminished as a result of Obamacare, as long as more and more people are added to the ranks of government dependents.
For example, one result of Obamacare that the left sees as a huge “accomplishment” is the major expansion of Medicaid. Heritage notes that “Obamacare extends eligibility to almost everyone with income below 138 percent of the federal poverty level under the age of 65.”
Through rose-colored glasses, Paul Krugman suggests that even though Medicaid is not perfect, it is the model:
“Yet given the problems facing American health care… Medicaid has to be regarded as a highly successful program. It provides good if not great coverage to tens of millions of people who would otherwise be left out in the cold.”
For goodness sake, let’s please define our terms here. A “highly successful program” would not fit the following description from Heritage:
“Medicaid is a broken program, and expanding it will only exacerbate the problems it already causes for current beneficiaries. Several studies show that, as a result of very low provider reimbursement rates, Medicaid beneficiaries have trouble accessing physicians. When compared to the privately insured, Medicaid patients face longer wait times and worse outcomes. As one recent study concluded, Medicaid recipients “were affected by more barriers to timely primary care and had higher associated [emergency department] utilization. Expansion of Medicaid eligibility alone may not be sufficient to improve health care access.”
Bottom line, the left is wrong about Obamacare, Medicare, and Medicaid. Their fundamental desire is not for more people to receive better healthcare, but for more people to be controlled by the government. Conservatives, on the other hand, call for real, market-oriented reforms, that will make programs like Medicare and Medicaid truly sustainable, while still allowing people access to good quality medical care.