One who intends to leave others better off for his having existed.

6/7/14

Dear Greensboro's Andrew Brod, On the Affordable Care Act (ACA) (Obamacare) and Deficit Projections, of which Dr. Brod was Incorrect

"...according to the Congressional Budget Office, the ACA as a whole, including Medicaid expansion, will slightly reduce the deficit during the next 10 years, precisely because it includes various taxes and fees. Expanding Medicaid might mean bigger government, but not a bigger deficit.

Andrew Brod
March 28, 2014

http://www.bizjournals.com/triad/print-edition/2014/03/28/nonexpansion-of-medicaid-still-a-bad-idea-for.html?page=all
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In online debates at Council Member Tony Wilkins' Facebook page and Ed Cone's blog before and after the council debate, UNCG Senior Research Fellow Dr. Andrew Brod stated "It's silly to say that the ACA is "mathematically unsustainable." The best math we have on this are projections by the CBO [Congressional Budget Office], indicate that the ACA is quite sustainable. The CBO projects that the ACA will (slightly) reduce the federal deficit” and "the ACA will reduce the federal deficit over time, precisely because "how we pay for it" has already been nailed down in the law."
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CBO To Stop Calculating Effects of Some ACA Provisions

The Congressional Budget Office in a "little-noticed" footnote in an April report said it no longer could calculate the estimated financial effect of several provisions in the Affordable Care Act. The report stated that CBO and the Joint Commission no longer can "determine exactly how the provisions of the ACA that are not related to the expansion of health insurance coverage have affected their projections of direct spending and revenues."

http://www.californiahealthline.org/articles/2014/6/5/cbo-to-stop-calculating-effects-of-some-aca-provisions

http://thehill.com/policy/healthcare/208314-cbo-to-stop-measuring-certain-o-care-effects

http://www.thefiscaltimes.com/Articles/2014/06/05/CBO-Quietly-Drops-Forecast-Obamacare-Will-Cut-Deficit
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ACA, (Obamacare), CBO, SGR and the Doc Fix

"Recent health care reform didn’t fix the cost issues associated with our nation’s health care system.

On March 21, the Obama administration’s Whitehouse.gov stated “the Affordable Care Act (ACA) reduces the deficit, saving over $200 billion over 10 years”.

According to the American Medical Association, Congress and both Bush and Obama didn’t enforce the Sustainable Healthcare physician Growth Rate (SGR) 16 times at a cost to taxpayers of $154 billion with what’s call the SGR “doc fix”.

The University of Chicago’s Vineet Arora wrote: “Because the ‘doc fix’ costs so much, it was removed from the calculation of the cost of the health reform bill to make it more likely that the [ACA] will pass.”

Former Associate Director of the White House Office of Management and Budget James Capretta wrote “While pushing ACA through Congress, President Obama ... proposed to add [the SGR “doc fix”] to the national debt, but he did not want those costs to count against [the] ACA, because they would explode the myth of deficit reduction. So his solution was to pass the “doc fix” in separate legislation. ...the President’s total bill for health care, with an unfinanced [SGR] “doc fix” shows deficits, not deficit reduction.”

In my view, “Obamacare” is a package of legislation, not just the ACA as has been widely publicized.

A March 2010 letter from the CBO to House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan, Obamacare legislation including the ACA disclosed “enacting all three pieces of legislation would add $59 billion to budget deficits over the 2010–2019 period”. Mr. Ryan hasn’t said much about the issue since. According to opensecrets.org, Ryan’s career to date health industry contributions total $1,636,911.

The health and insurance industry’s large political campaign contribution track record correlates to taxpayer funded subsidized healthcare having the highest price inflation of any sector of the economy since 2000.

December 9, 2010’s SGR “doc-Fix” altered ACA subsidy formulas. If the SGR cut scheduled for April 1, 2014 doesn’t occur, at least $140.4 billion of Obamacare’s expected 10-year deficit reduction math looks to be in jeopardy, as Medicaid payment levels are tied to some Medicare reimbursements and correlated to private health care premiums.

My understanding of CBO rules, is if the SGR repeal becomes permanent, the $140.4 billion then counts as deficit increasing, as opposed to its current state of legal limbo, under which the CBO doesn’t have to score the SGR as a deficit expense. The CBO did not reply to inquiries for comment.

I believe the ACA was passed without fixing what’s broken, but preserved the worst of it, making our fiscal situation even more precarious without public disclosure.

It feels like America’s health and insurance industries don’t maintain high profit margins by providing superior care and/or medicine, but by financing the political process with wealth transferred from patients and taxpayers.

In my view, many Democrats are just as guilty as some Republicans for allowing our health care system to become what appears to be a skimming operation. Some campaign contributions look like legal forms of extortion on the part of elected officials via the SGR “doc fix” among other extensions, as some healthcare and insurance industry donors appear to legally bribe legislators in exchange for artificially inflated taxpayer-funded profit."

George Hartzman
Yes Weekly, 3/26/2014

http://hartzman.blogspot.com/2014/03/excerpts-from-my-3262014-yes-weekly.html

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