Health Care Law Impacts
New Health Care Law – Impact on Seniors
$202.3 billion in cuts to seniors’ Medicare health plans, including massive cuts targeting the extra benefits and subsidized insurance plans seniors receive through Medicare Advantage. The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) predicted a similar policy would result in 4.8 million fewer seniors enrolled in Medicare Advantage plans in 2019, while the independent Medicare Payment Advisory Commission (MedPAC) predicted a similar policy would result 1 in 5 seniors no longer being able to enroll in Medicare Advantage.
Part D Premium Increases:
The law will begin a phased-in process of filling in the Part D coverage gap, or “doughnut hole.” However, CBO has previously stated that filling in the “doughnut hole” would cause a 50 percent spike in average Part D premiums. Even when additional coverage is phased in over time, these higher costs would eventually be passed on to American seniors.
Does Not Improve Medicare Solvency:
Although the legislation cuts more than $500 billion in Medicare, not one dime of these savings are devoted to improving the solvency of the program. This year, the Social Security and Medicare Board of Trustees reported the financial condition of Medicare remains challenging, yet this law would do nothing to protect or preserve it.
Removes Benefit Incentive for Companies to Provide Retiree Drug Benefit:
This new law removes the tax-free drug subsidy given to corporations that was created by the Medicare prescription drug program in 2003. This $665 tax-free subsidy given to encourage coverage for their employees will now be subject to the ordinary corporate income tax of 35%. Many independent analysts say the higher costs will encourage some companies to drop drug coverage, which could affect about five million retirees and 3,500 businesses.
Opens the Door to Government Rationing:
The new law expands the role of Medicare Payment Advisory Commission (MedPAC) by creating the Independent Payment Advisory Commission (IPAB) to control Medicare spending with very limited Congressional review. This will be a Washington-based agency with the power to set costs for medical procedures under Medicare. This adopts the British N.I.C.E. model (National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence) which makes binding recommendations to cut costs and sets age limits on what medical procedures and interventions are allowed. N.I.C.E. is a rationing board that reduces spending by limiting the treatments that 61 million citizens are allowed to receive through England’s National Health System.
Doctors and Hospitals:
Medicare patients are already being denied care. Smaller physician reimbursements are resulting in doctors limiting the patients they accept. One in three doctors has Medicare patient limits while one in eight doctors will no longer treat Medicare patients. As a result, more seniors will seek routine care in the emergency departments of our hospitals, putting even more pressure on hospitals’ financial stability.
Medical Device Tax:
The new law includes a 2.3% excise tax levied on the total revenues of medical device companies, regardless of whether a company generates a profit. The result will be devastating to innovation and to the patients who rely on affordable medical devices.
Reforming Medical Malpractice Insurance:
The new law does nothing to address the current medical liability crisis. Today doctors are forced to pay exorbitant malpractice insurance premiums, practice defensive medicine, or actually quit practicing altogether, due to soaring liability costs.
New Health Care Law Affects Medicare
- $202.3 billion in cuts to seniors’ Medicare health plans, including massive cuts targeting the extra benefits and subsidized insurance plans seniors receive through Medicare Advantage. The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) predicted a similar policy would result in 4.8 million fewer seniors enrolled in Medicare Advantage plans in 2019, while the independent Medicare Payment Advisory Commission (MedPAC) predicted a similar policy would result 1 in 5 seniors no longer being able to enroll in Medicare Advantage.
- $156.6 billion in Medicare cuts to inpatient and outpatient hospital services, inpatient rehabilitation facilities, long-term care hospitals, inpatient psychiatric hospitals, skilled nursing facilities, Ambulatory Surgical Centers, hospice, ambulances, dialysis facilities, labs and durable medical equipment suppliers.
- $39.7 billion in Medicare cuts to home health providers.
- $22.1 billion in additional reductions to hospitals by slashing reimbursements designed to assist hospitals that serve low-income patients.
- $20.7 billion in cuts to the Medicare Improvement Fund, which had been intended to fund improvements to seniors’ Medicare benefits, not to finance a new entitlement.
- $13.3 billion in yet-to-be-determined Medicare cuts from the hands of the Washington based, Independent Payment Advisory Commission (IPAB).
- $2.3 billion in Medicare cuts to imaging reimbursements for Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRIs), Computed Tomography (CT) scans and other procedures.
- $800 million in Medicare reductions to electric wheelchair suppliers.