THE SAPIENT SPARROW: conservatism for commoners

"What has always made the State a hell on earth has been precisely that man has tried to make it his heaven."–Holderlin

COMING SOON, ARMAGEDDON! (And it’s no laughing matter)

“I’m not exaggerating. Leaders of the Republican Party called the passage of this bill Armageddon. Armageddon! End of freedom as we know it.”

“So after I signed the bill, I looked around to see if there were any asteroids falling, some cracks opening up in the earth? Turned out it was a nice day. Birds were chirping. Folks were strolling down the Mall.” –President Obama, March 25, 2010, Iowa

It was so uplifting to hear the POTUS using opposition to the new Healthcare Law as the punch-line for a joke.  He is just so cool!  Of course, the very next day, Mr. Obama and his cronies seemed to have lost some of their comedic ebullience when, among others, 3M, Deere, AT&T and Caterpillar all announced substantial non-cash charges in the first quarter as a result of provisions in the new Healthcare Law.

Oops!  Armageddon seems to have a sneaky sense of humor, although Henry Waxman, (D-CA), doesn’t seem to be laughing.  A grumpy Mr. Waxman has ordered these evil companies to Congress to be questioned.  He demands that they document how any negative impact from the beneficent new Healthcare Law could have possibly been calculated.  How dare they!

But the real kill-joys last Friday were the Republican members of the House Ways and Means Committee.  They released a “Timeline of Major Provisions in the Democrats’ Health Care Package.”

Here are some of the “pre-Armageddon” bits.  The entire timeline is here.

States and Federal officials review premium increases
Impose 10% tax on indoor UV tanning (7/1/10)
Medicare cuts to inpatient psychiatric hospitals (7/1/10)
Requires plans to cover, at no charge, most preventive care (plan years beginning 9/23/10)

Medicare Advantage cuts begin
No longer allowed to use FSA, HSA, HRA, Archer MSA distributions for over-the-counter medicines
Medicare cuts to home health begin
Wealthier seniors ($85K/$170K) begin paying higher Part D premiums (not indexed for inflation in Parts B/D)
Medicare reimbursement cuts when seniors use diagnostic imaging like MRIs, CT scans, etc.
Medicare cuts begin to ambulance services, ASCs, diagnostic labs, and durable medical equipment
Impose new annual tax on brand name pharmaceutical companies
Americans begin paying premiums for federal long-term care insurance (CLASS Act)
Health plans required to spend a minimum of 80% of premiums on medical claims.
Prohibition on Medicare payments to new physician-owned hospitals
Penalties for non-qualified HAS and Archer MSA distribution double (to 20%)
Seniors prohibited from purchasing power wheelchairs unless they first rent for 13 months
Employers required to report value of health benefits on W-2
New Medicare cuts to long-term care hospitals begin (7/1/11)
Additional Medicare cuts to hospitals and cuts to nursing homes and inpatient rehab facilities begin (FY12)
New tax on all private health insurance policies to pay for Comparative Effectiveness Research (plan years beginning FY12)

Medicare cuts to dialysis treatment begins
New Medicare cuts to inpatient psychiatric hospitals
Hospital pay-for-quality program begins (FY13)
Medicare cuts to hospitals with high re-admission rates begin (FY13)
Medicare cuts to hospice being (FY13)

By 2013, the provisions of the “Democrats’ Health Care Package” is looking very “Armageddonish”.  Despite this, Mr. Obama repeated a shortened form of his Armageddon joke to Matt Lauer on the Today Show on Monday.  Look around, Mr. President, no one is laughing.


Filed under: congress, POTUS, U.S. GOVERNMENT, , , ,

One Response

  1. The CLASS Act will not be an option for those who are already disabled (and unable to work) or those who are retired and do not want to work. The law requires that in order to qualify for benefits, one must pay premiums for 5 years AND must be working for at least 3 of those 5 years.

    The CLASS Act’s $50 per day “average benefit” will only cover a small portion of the $75,000+ per year most Americans pay for in-home care. Most people who want to protect their savings will still need to purchase long-term care insurance to supplement the CLASS Act benefit.

    One of the biggest problems we face is that most Americans still think that Medicare or their medical insurance covers the cost of long term care.

    The CLASS Act addresses this problem by making a very clear statement: You have to pay for your own long term care. You either have to pay for your own long term care by using your savings, the $50 per day CLASS Act benefit, long term care insurance, or a combination of these.

    Most of the ten million Americans who own long term care insurance, own it because they’ve seen friends or family have to spend down their assets before qualifying for Medicaid. The CLASS Act will help alert the rest of the country to the fact that they need to financially plan for their future long term care needs.

    Scott A. Olson

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