Democrats have promised that health reform would reduce health care costs, but legislation the House passed last week would increase costs over the next decade by $289 billion. By 2019, health costs would rise to 21.1 percent of GDP compared to 20.8 under current law, according to an actuarial report prepared by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.
“With the exception of the proposed reductions in Medicare payment updates for institutional providers, the provisions of H.R. 3962 would not have a significant impact on future health care cost growth rates. In addition, the longer-term viability of the Medicare update reductions is doubtful,” the report said.
In other words, outside of Medicare payment cuts to hospitals, the bill doesn’t curb increasing health care costs. And even the Medicare payment cuts will be difficult to sustain.
The CMS, by the way, isn’t a Republican-funded think tank. It’s the federal agency–a unit of the Department of Health and Human Services–that oversees Medicare and Medicaid payments.
More tidbits from Politico’s analysis of the 31-page actuarial report::
Pg. 3 – “Most of the provisions of H.R. 3962 that were designed, in part, to reduce the rate of growth in health care costs would have a relatively small savings impact.” Translation: Things like wellness and prevention programs and reducing Medicare fraud don’t save much money.
Pg. 7 – About 3 million more people would get coverage through their employers. The report figures that about 15 million more people would gain employer coverage but 12 million would lose it because it would be cheaper for their employers to let them buy coverage through the public insurance exchange.
Pg. 7 – 18 million people will remain uninsured and choose to pay the fines for not carrying insurance rather than buy coverage.
Pg. 8 – The bill reduces Medicare payments to hospitals and nursing homes over time based on productivity targets. The idea is that by paying institutions less money, they will be forced to become more productive. But it’s doubtful that many institutions can hit those targets, which could force them to withdraw from Medicare, the report says.
As the Washington Post reports:
A plan to slash more than $500 billion from future Medicare spending — one of the biggest sources of funding for President Obama’s proposed overhaul of the nation’s health-care system — would sharply reduce benefits for some senior citizens and could jeopardize access to care for millions of others, according to a government evaluation released Saturday.
Finder’s fee to Ace of Spades HQ, which comments: “In other words….Hey old folks, they are coming for your health care….The truth is now out on this bill, it’s an inter-generational and income group money and health care grab.”