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Hope and Change, “really expensive health care” edition:

December 11, 2012

So Medicare is going broke much, much faster than the administration is letting on, and oddly, the only reason it’s not going broke even faster is that the feds are about to start vastly underpaying doctors:

Medicare’s reimbursements to doctors are scheduled to drop by 31 percent on January 1, 2013. Only then is Medicare solvent until 2016/2024. If Congress passes another of its numerous “doc fixes,” Medicare’s insolvency will be even closer at hand. The optimistic insolvency estimate from the Trustees will require “unprecedented changes in health care delivery systems and payment mechanisms,” without which Medicare fees “are very likely to fall increasingly short of the costs of providing those services.”

medicare going broke

The chart shows average reimbursements for private insurance, Medicare, and Medicaid. Notice how little Medicare will pay doctors – who will, of course, happily continue providing services for payments far under their costs (won’t they?) – unless Congress acts…again. Oh, yes, this happens every few years.

And notice: Medicare goes insolvent as early as 2016 only if Congress doesn’t fix reimbursements. And the odds are that they will.

They have to, see. Otherwise, why should doctors keep kissing up to them?

Luckily enough, the “doc fix” issue might be enough to distract us from this brand new, recently (post-election) discovered tax:

WASHINGTON (AP) — Your medical plan is facing an unexpected expense, so you probably are, too. It’s a new, $63-per-head fee to cushion the cost of covering people with pre-existing conditions under President Barack Obama’s health care overhaul.

The charge, buried in a recent regulation, works out to tens of millions of dollars for the largest companies, employers say. Most of that is likely to be passed on to workers.

Yay, taxes!

I love this part:

The Obama administration says it is a temporary assessment levied for three years starting in 2014, designed to raise $25 billion. It starts at $63 and then declines.

Didn’t they also say Obamacare wouldn’t require higher taxes?

Yes, yes they did. Oh, except for this one, which…hey, didn’t these self-same Democrats vote for Obamacare, even knowing this tax was in there?

WASHINGTON – Minnesota’s two [liberal ~Ed.] senators sought Monday to delay a tax on medical devices that was expected to add $28 billion over the next decade to help pay for health care reform.

Democratic Senators Amy Klobuchar and Al Franken pointed to thousands of high-paying jobs that device companies support in Minnesota, headquarters to such giant devicemakers as Medtronic and St. Jude Medical. The industry has painted the tax as a job killer that would hurt innovation.

“The delay would give us the opportunity to repeal or reduce that tax,” said Klobuchar, co-author of a letter sent to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid seeking the delay.

How come they understand how higher taxes hurt business sometimes, but not other times?

Or…do they really want to repeal the tax? Or do they only want to look like they do?

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