While ObamaCare was hyped to seniors as the best thing since sliced bread, the truth is, too much bread can kill you. Obama tossed out a few bread crumbs to get your support — like more taxpayer subsides for Medicare drug benefits – but the truth is those subsides are syphoned off from an estimated $575 billion in phantom savings to the Medicare program.
Medicare Advantage plans will see enrollment cut in half over the next 10 years forcing seniors to be more dependent upon traditional Medicare with fewer health care choices. And since there is a serious gap in traditional Medicare coverage, including the absence of catastrophic protection, most seniors will be forced to pay for private supplemental coverage. That means paying for two insurance policies out of pocket.
Under the Medicare Modernization Act of 2003, Congress deliberately created a gap in Medicare drug coverage (donut hole) in which seniors are required to pay 100% of drug costs up to a specified amount. Now ObamaCare did toss out another bread crumb to provide you with a $250 rebate if you fall into that hole and will require drug companies to give you a 50% discount on brand name prescriptions filled while in the hole. Sounds good, right? Well, in 2011 ObamaCare imposed a new tax on the sale of these brand name drugs, ranging from $2.5 billion in 2011 to $4.1 billion in 2018. So even though those drug companies will have to give you that 50% discount, the price of those drugs have increased due to ObamaCare and not just for drugs purchased during that donut hole period, but for the entire year.
ObamaCare also restricts your doctor from referring you to any specialty hospital where doctors have an ownership interest. So, if you happen to actually need the services of a speciality hospital, such as a Cancer Center, and doctors happens to have an ownership interest in that hospital, you are out of luck.
Beginning in 2013, ObamaCare will eliminate the tax deduction for businesses who provide drug coverage for retirees which will cause some to drop that coverage forcing you to find private Medicare approved drug insurance.
Of course we can’t neglect the Independent Payment Advisory Board aka the “Death Panel“. While formally they can not make recommendations to ration care, increase revenue or change Medicare benefits, they are charged with cutting costs and the only method left to them under the law is to reduce payments to doctors and other medical professions. If reimbursements to doctors are cut you will find yourself with fewer choices in doctors willing to treat seniors which is plain and simple, backdoor rationing.
Also under ObamaCare seniors will be forced to pay higher taxes. The existing tax deduction for medical expenses will be raised from 7.5% to 10% of adjusted gross income in 2013. Seniors will be exempt from this increase only for 3 years.
If you managed to save and invest for your retirement, also expect to pay an additional 3.8% Medicare tax in 2013 on unearned or investment income.
The new tax on medical device manufactures beginning in 2013 will also cost seniors more out-of-pocket by raising prices of desperately needed equipment.
If you happen to be a federal retiree, a federal premium tax effective in 2014 will apply to Medicare Advantage plans and health plans offered by the Federal Employees Health Benefit Program. Beginning in 2018, there is a new 40% federal excise tax on “Cadillac” health plans that the government defines as $10,220 for individual coverage.
According to the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services, more cuts will be needed to sustain the unfunded mandates which could mean less doctors providing services to Medicare beneficiaries.
Already the government is tying the hands of physicians. As a pilot program in the Midwest, 20,000 doctors have already received a Medicare report showing the amount their patients cost on average as well as the quality of care they provide their patents. Never fear, the government plans on extending the program across the country.
A little noticed provision in ObamaCare provides for paying more to doctors who provide quality care at a lower cost and reducing payments to doctors who the government decides provides too much care thereby costing Medicare more. By 2015 ObamaCare will phase in a new payment system called a “Physician Value-Based Payment Modifer”. Initially it will only apply to physician groups and a few specialists selected by he government but by 2017 the payment change is supposed to apply to all doctors and hospitals.
AARP, who was suppose to look out for its members, is laughing all the way to the bank. They stand to make billions off the backs of seniors when ObamaCare goes into full effect.
New taxes on drugs and medical devices, along with new reporting requirements and regulations on doctors will make access to health care services most costly and difficult for seniors.