During the health care debate, House Speaker Pelosi famously declared Congress would have to pass ObamaCare before we could "find out what is in it." A new report from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) on the effects of the law illustrates exactly why proponents wanted to keep the details quiet.
The study, conducted by the CMS actuary, validates all of Oklahomans' worst fears about ObamaCare. The president's own analysts have now verified that concerns about cost hikes, Medicare cuts, and doctor shortages aren't just slogans -- they're the new reality now that government-controlled health care is the law of the land.
Although President Obama claimed that the legislation would lower costs, CMS experts found otherwise, estimating that national health care expenditures will increase by $311 billion over the next decade as a result of the law. Employers unable to provide coverage and individuals without health insurance will be penalized to the tune of $120 billion in new taxes, while those with health benefits will face new taxes and higher premiums.
We knew from the start that promises like 'if you like your health care, you can keep it" were false, and now CMS has confirmed that 14 million people who currently have employer-provided coverage will likely lose it, with 2 million of those being pushed into Medicaid. Seniors who rely on Medicare are also at risk for losing access to health care. The report estimates that "about 50 percent" of seniors will be dropped from Medicare Advantage health plans due to massive cuts to the program.
Unwelcome changes to your health care plan are only the beginning. CMS cautions that access to doctors and treatment is also in jeopardy, warning of the consequences of "a significant increase in demand for health care meeting a relatively fixed supply of health care providers and services." That fixed supply of medical care may become even scarcer as the law is implemented. The report found that cuts to Medicare may drive physicians to "end their participation in the program," further compromising health care for the seniors not already forced out of Medicare entirely.
Another factor sure to strain the medical system is the massive expansion of Medicaid rolls. The report estimates that Medicaid will add 20 million new beneficiaries, placing an unsustainable burden on already stressed state budgets.
Even the positive aspects of the bill, such as provisions to provide coverage for those with pre-existing conditions, are a failure. CMS analysts reveal that initial funding for high risk pools "would be exhausted" as soon as 2011, "resulting in substantial premium increases to sustain the program."
President Obama and Speaker Pelosi clearly didn't listen when the American people warned that ObamaCare would be a disaster. It's doubtful they will pay any more attention now that the Obama administration's own Medicare department is sounding the alarm. The only solution is to repeal and replace this costly debacle before it bankrupts the country and permanently damages our health care system.