What Obamacare Means For Seniors – Info For My Grandma

The other day my grandma came to me and asked what exactly does Obamacare mean for her as she approaches retirement.  One relative of ours (who hasn’t read the bill) is convinced it would make life easier for my grandparents.  This relative means well, but is a prime example of how dangerous ignorance can be.  How could he possibly know that seniors will have it better under Obamacare if we don’t know what the yet-to-be-created committees, commissions, and other bureaucracies will mandate?

Pelosi was only half right when she said: “We have to pass the bill so that YOU can find out what’s in it.” The next step is to find out how the newly created bureaucracies will implement it.  Remember, the bill doesn’t dictate what coverage we’ll get, or how much it will cost in most circumstances.  It basically creates a bunch of government entities to decide on that stuff later on.

With that said, however, we do know the direction Obamacare is going in with regards to senior citizens.  Unfortunately, there is no evidence that things will get better for all seniors, and there’s a lot of questions as to how bad it will get for them.

Doctors Are Refusing To Treat Medicare Patients

Even the casual news reader has come across numerous headlines explaining that doctors all over the country are choosing to opt out of providing care for Medicaid (for the poor) and Medicare (for seniors) because the government does not adequately reimburse them for the treatment.  Some doctors are simply not accepting new patients under these programs, but a lot are refusing to provide treatment at a loss any longer.

FYI … doctors are forced to increase their fees for the rest of us to cover the losses for treating patients who utilize government plans.  In other words … the government shortchanging doctors has directly led to an increase in health care costs.

Now consider this … Obamacare seeks to cut Medicare fees a further 21 percent and hospital reimbursements for Medicare patients are to be chopped by $1.3-billion.

How can an ever decreasing pool of doctors willing to see seniors as patients be a good thing?

Medicare Cuts

Obamacare cuts Medicare by $416.5-billion (this is the net cut) which amounts to roughly 39% of the total 10 year cost of the bill.  All of the new Medicare taxes on ‘rich’ people will only raise $210-billion.

Seniors will begin losing benefits as a result of those cuts.

The Medicare Advantage cuts will force 4.8 million seniors off the popular plan by 2019.

How can cutting $416.5-billion from Medicare which is already nearly $40-trillion in the hole be a good thing?

Out Of Pocket Costs

I’ve been making it a point to cover the taxes imposed on the ‘average joe’ by this bill, but seniors are going to have to come out of pocket a little more on some things as well.

Obamacare has a new 2.3 percent excise tax on medical devices such as wheelchairs, syringes and diabetic supplies, bedpans, pacemakers, catheters, hip prosthetics, and the like.  You don’t have to be a genius to understand that a new tax = higher cost.

Analysts are saying as many as two million retirees could lose their prescription drug coverage from their former employer which would force them onto Medicare’s plan.  The same Medicare that was just hit with a $416.5-billion cut.

Drug makers will pay out an additional $85-billion in taxes over the next 10 years, and may very well pass that cost onto seniors who need their medication.  It should be noted that big pharma wanted this because it prevented possible competition from imported drugs, and from having to allow generics to hit the market sooner.

How can facing increased costs for medical devices and prescriptions be a good thing?

Some Positives

Although the negatives for seniors appear to be numerous in Obamacare … there are some positives that will help seniors out.

The infamous ‘donut hole’ has been patched up.  No more will seniors who surpass their Medicare prescription coverage have to pay the full prescription cost until they reach their catastrophic coverage.

Also, should seniors decide to get their own insurance they can no longer be denied coverage because of their age.

Seniors overwhelmingly oppose this bill according to polling, but there are those that believe they’ll benefit … and truth be told … many of them likely will benefit.  As with anything … there is always good and bad.  We can only calculate the net cost or benefit, and this bill has far more negatives affecting seniors.

A couple more things I’ll leave you with to ponder is that seniors poses the most wealth in this country and there is half a trillion dollars in new taxes.  It’s easy to forget that a big chunk of the wealthy in the United States are seniors, and they’ll be hit by the new taxes in Obamacare.

Then there’s rationing.

Rationing already happens in Medicare.  To fantasize that it won’t continue to happen (if not get worse) is just plain silly.  All you have to do is find one single socialized system that didn’t ration care in some form to prove me wrong.  You don’t even have to look far … you can look at Oregon’s socialized system.  They have a long history of rationing right here in the US.  The argument that America will do this better than Canada, Britain, or France is delusional.  In the end, costs are always weighed.

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Posted on April 20, 2010, in Big Government, health care, My Life and tagged . Bookmark the permalink. Comments Off.

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