Surprise, surprise, surprise!

According to a New York Times report this week,

the Congressional Budget Office has quietly removed hundreds of billions of dollars from the projected costs of Obamacare, primarily the result of an anticipated decrease in the federal government’s contribution to the Medicaid expansion program along with the projected cost of the subsidy payments to those buying private insurance policies on the healthcare exchanges.

The gist of this report is that the abomination that is the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act is going to result in a decrease in government spending:

The more favorable projections are the direct result of the slowing trend in the growth of health care spending over the past five years leading to a slowdown in rising costs. While, 10 years ago, per-capita spending on health care had been growing by an average annual rate of 5 percent, that number was dramatically cut to 1.8 percent during the 2007-2010 period and reduced even further to 1.3 percent in the years following 2010.

This is Washington, D.C.-speak for a cut in spending.  Note that health care spending was still increasing, just at a slower rate.  And supporters of the Obamacare law are quick to squawk about how the law is reducing the costs of healthcare.

But not so fast, my friends:

Do we have Obamacare to thank for this highly successful “bending” of the cost curve?  Naturally, the answer depends upon who you ask as there simply is no definitive way of knowing — yet.

One problem for supporters of Obamacare is the fact that people have less disposable income due to the Second Great Depression Great Recession, and thus may not be able to spend more on healthcare even if they want to:

According to the Kaiser Family Foundation — widely regarded as an honest, non-partisan broker when it comes to health care issues and analysis — the declining increases in the cost of health care is 75 percent the result of economic factors and 25 percent a benefit of the cost cutting measures in the ACA that do, in fact, appear to be working.

But let’s assume that the supporters are right, and Obamacare is reducing the costs of healthcare.  Look a little deeper, and ask yourself how the law is doing this:

Among Obamacare inventions that do appear to be paying off in lower health care costs is the government’s refusal to pay hospitals more when patients are re-admitted within 30 days of their initial discharge.

You better hope that the doctors get it right the first time, because the government isn’t going to pay for a misdiagnosis or relapse.  Those days of getting a second opinion?  Gone.

The article ends with a plea for more time:

Like most elements of the Affordable Care Act, these issues and results only go to prove that far more time is required before we can even begin to measure the real benefits or detriments of Obamacare.

So, we need more time before we will see all of the benefits of the law.  Hmmm, that sounds familiar:

And now that ‘we’ passed the bill and are starting to see what is in it, well:


Categories: Healthcare, Obamacare

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