Smoke & mirrors in Congress

We’ve already got problems in health care delivery in the US. Some
of it is in Medicaid. That and more, including problems with
Medicare, would get worse if the reform legislation currently written
somehow got enacted.

“Exacerbating existing problems” is how the Centers for Medicare and
Medicaid Services puts it, and they’re run by the federal government.

This Washington Times editorial explains, going back to what health care reform was promised to do, and what it’s shaping up to threaten to do.

President Obama has angrily denounced those who warned
that Democratic health care proposals will reduce Medicare benefits.
“Medicare is another issue that’s been subjected to demagoguery and
distortion during the course of this debate,” he said during the course
of his Sept. 9 address to Congress. After all, he promised that if
people liked their Medicare and Medicaid coverage, “nothing” will
“change the coverage or the doctor you have” and “the only thing this
plan would eliminate is the hundreds of billions of dollars in waste
and fraud.” That simply is not the case.

Democratic health care bills in both houses of Congress clearly
contradict the president’s promises. House Republicans asked the
Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services how the health care bill
approved by the lower chamber on Nov. 7 would impact government health
care programs. Would slashing $500 billion from Medicare and Medicaid,
as proposed in the House bill, only eliminate waste? Half of the health
care bill is purported to be paid by these yet-to-be-seen cuts.

Important to note what the editorial states next, that Medicare
already reimburses doctors and hospitals below cost, and that’s part of
the proposed cuts. How cutting those costs could eliminate waste is
“unfathomable”, say the editors.

The waste that is going to be eliminated is not even
specified in the bill, but the Democrats merely state that they know it
is out there somewhere. One of the proposals to eliminate the Medicare
Advantage program will obviously force those currently using it to
change their coverage.

There’s not even ‘plausible deniability’ in this.

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services is run by
the administration and Congress, but on Nov. 21, even the centers
couldn’t deny the obvious truth: The cuts will be “exacerbating
existing access problems” in Medicaid. “It is reasonable to expect that
a significant portion of the increased demand for Medicaid would not be
realized,” the centers reported. After translating this jargon from
bureaucratese, the meaning is clear: People will want more medical care
than will be available; not everyone will be able to get treatment; and
there will have to be rationing.

This is becoming more evident to more people and support for government-run health care is dropping, leading to this conclusion:

Mr. Obama might lash out at his opponents for
criticizing Democratic plans for government health care, but he is the
one engaging in “demagoguery and distortion.” No matter what the
president tries to claim, $500 billion in cuts from Medicare and
Medicaid will indeed reduce services rendered to the old and the poor.


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