Published for ObamaCareWatch.org, June 8th, 2010:
This week, we learned that the Obama administration is orchestrating a $125 million propaganda campaign to sell the recently enacted health-care law to the public. That effort will be funded by labor unions and other groups from the Democratic political orbit. It comes on top of the misleading government mailer sent to the nation’s seniors, at the expense of taxpayers, touting the supposed benefits of ObamaCare for the elderly. On Tuesday, the president himself will join the fray again to make the sales pitch, this time promoting the colossal waste of taxpayer money associated with $250 per senior bribes to be issued this summer and fall.
The problem the White House has, however, has never been insufficient public relations spin. The problem is the substance. Americans care deeply about their health care, and they have seen right through the Democratic rhetoric on ObamaCare from day one. They know that it is a poorly conceived experiment, built on the flawed assumption that the problems in U.S. health care can be solved with heavier regulation, subsidization, and micro-management from Washington, D.C.
In Medicare, the results of the new law will be disastrous. ObamaCare will cut payments to the private insurance component of the program (called Medicare Advantage, or MA) by nearly $200 billion over ten years. The chief actuary of the program says this cut will eventually drive 7 million seniors — many with low-incomes — out of the plan they would prefer to enroll in. And it will mean thousands of dollars in benefit reductions for every MA enrollee, beginning next year. These seniors won’t be silenced with patronizing and one-time checks. In addition, the new law imposes arbitrary price cutting for all manner of Medicare services, which the chief actuary says will harm access to care by forcing scores of institutions to stop taking Medicare beneficiaries.
Last week, we learned that the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) has postponed issuing guidance on the ill-conceived “medical-loss ratio” requirement in the new law because, as passed by Congress, it will cause massive and unnecessary disruption to millions of current insurance enrollees. One estimate is that 1 to 2 million people with individual insurance will lose their coverage if the requirement is imposed because national insurers will be forced to exit the market to avoid large business losses.