[Soon] the new GOP-controlled House of Representatives will be voting on and is expected to pass a bill to repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA) — lock, stock, and barrel. There is virtually no chance the repeal bill will get through the Senate, though, which maintains a narrow Democratic majority, and President Obama would veto it if it did.
But let’s say that the seemingly impossible happened, and the ACA was repealed. What would the impact be on healthcare coverage, costs, and the federal deficit?
In a letter to Speaker John Boehner (R-OH), the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) released its preliminary estimates of the impact of repeal on the deficit, uninsured, and costs of care, and found that it would make the deficit worse, result in more uninsured persons, and higher premiums for many:
— Deficit: repeal of the ACA would increase the deficit by $145 billion from 2012-2019, by another $80 to $90 billion over the 2020-21 period, and by an amount “that is in the broad range of one-half percent of the GDP” in the decade after 2019* — or about a trillion dollars. Read more »
*This blog post was originally published at The ACP Advocate Blog by Bob Doherty*
Medicare poses a deficit problem, note some very influential analysts. A former Congressional Budget Office head and a former Medicare chief chime in on the scope of the program’s impact on the economy, and the difficulties of trying to scale it back.
Yet, a presidential commission is considering just that among other measures. The 18-member, bipartisan commission released its report weeks ago and was scheduled to have voted today on a shocking scope of deficit-trimming measures that included changes to military spending, Social Security and Medicare, among other areas. But they deferred the vote until Friday to try to garner more votes from members who are also currently elected officials. The panel needs 14 votes and substantive approval from its roster of Congress members to gain serious attention.
In related news for Medicare recipients, the Employee Benefit Research Institute reports that seniors will need hundreds of thousands of dollars in savings to cover health insurance and other out-of-pocket health needs. (NPR, The New York Times, ACP Internist, The Washington Post, Reuters)
*This blog post was originally published at ACP Internist*
“Why should I take my blood pressure medication,” you ask? The more I do this thing called hospitalist medicine, the more I appreciate the power of lifestyle choices we all make.
Every opportunity I get I give my patients my smoking lecture and charge their insurance a CPT 99406. Everybody knows that smoking is bad for you and it causes lung cancer. Nobody knows all the other stuff. They’re always shocked.
Maybe it’s time for me to start a blood pressure lecture. I often have patients who say: “Why should I take my blood pressure medication?” They always answer their own question with the same answer: “I was feeling fine. I didn’t see a reason to take my blood pressure medication.”
You see, these are people with insurance. These are people with the Medicare National Bank. These are people who don’t have to lift a finger or a dime to pay any out-of-pocket expenses for their healthcare. And yet, they still lack the motivation to care for themselves, even with incredible resources out there these days to help them — things like great online blood pressure chart sites for home monitoring.
Whatever the reason — whether it’s ignorance, laziness, lack of motivation, lack of remembering, or selfishness — people just don’t take care of themselves. Read more »
*This blog post was originally published at The Happy Hospitalist*