Obamacare’s Negative Impact on Florida’s Seniors

Column courtesy of the Heritage Foundation.

The Medicare program that provides health insurance to seniors faces a dire financial future. And Obamacare is making it worse.

Medicare’s Part A trust fund is projected to be insolvent by 2026 and the total program has a long-term unfunded obligation of more than $35 trillion. This means the government has made $35 trillion worth of benefit promises to current and future seniors that are not yet paid for — a staggering amount that is more than double the nation’s total current debt.

Despite the fact that the Medicare trustees have been warning of this financing disaster for many years, President Obama’s massive health care law makes the matter much worse, not better.

VIDEO: Ann Lorenz, who has Parkinson’s disease, worries about Medicare’s future:

Ignore the political rhetoric of keeping Medicare “as we know it.” Obamacare has already made significant changes to Medicare, namely through provider reimbursement reductions and the creation of an unelected board of bureaucrats, the Independent Payment Advisory Board (IPAB).

Here are three examples of Obamacare’s impact:

1) Huge payment reductions that reduce access to care. According to the Congressional Budget Office (CBO), Obamacare will reduce Medicare reimbursements by $716 billion over 10 years. These cuts will hit Part A providers such as hospitals, nursing homes, skilled nursing facilities, and hospices, along with Medicare Advantage plans. The trustees predict that if Congress allows these cuts to go into effect, 15 percent of Medicare providers would go in the red by 2019, 25 percent by 2030, and 40 percent by 2050.

This will absolutely impact seniors’ ability to access medical care. As the trustees explain: “Providers could not sustain continuing negative margins and would have to withdraw from serving Medicare beneficiaries or (if total facility margins remained positive) shift substantial portions of Medicare costs to their non-Medicare, non-Medicaid payers.” (Emphasis added.)

2) Medicare “savings” are spent on other parts of Obamacare. Obamacare’s Medicare “savings” and increased Medicare payroll tax are often touted as increasing the solvency of the Part A trust fund, but that simply is not true. The money is counted as paying for new entitlement spending in Obamacare.

As CBO plainly states, “CBO has been asked whether the reductions in projected Part A outlays and increases in projected [hospital insurance] revenues under the legislation can provide additional resources to pay future Medicare benefits while simultaneously providing resources to pay for new programs outside of Medicare. Our answer is basically no.”

3) The ominous and looming power of IPAB. The board will consist of 15 unelected and unaccountable bureaucrats, charged with meeting a newly created budget target in Medicare. When Medicare spending surpasses the target, IPAB will have to make recommendations to lower Medicare spending. The trustees project the much-hated IPAB will need to step up and make recommendations for the first time in 2016.

Obama’s Medicare agenda falls far short of what is necessary to put the program on a sustainable path, and his law’s negative impact on seniors is yet another reason the law must be repealed in its entirety before its most egregious provisions (Medicaid expansion and exchange subsidies) begin in 2014.

RELATED COLUMNS:

SHOCK: Two-Thirds May Not Insure Under Obamacare…
Cheapest Plan $20,000 Per Family…

Is Gov. Rick Scott abusing his executive powers?

Republicans have been quick to point out that President Obama’s recess appointments bypass the US Senate’s constitutional role of advice and consent. Courts have ruled against President Obama calling some appointments “unconstitutional“. But what happens when a Republican does the same thing?

Governor Rick Scott is coming under fire for recent “recess” appointments.

Scott recently made 42 appointments to boards and commissions throughout the state. Among them was Dr. John Armstrong, State Surgeon General and Secretary of the Florida Department of Health, who Scott reappointed for a term beginning May 16, 2013, and ending at the pleasure of the Governor. Health News Florida reports, “Dr. John Armstrong will continue to lead the Department of Health, thanks to a reappointment by Gov. Rick Scott. As the Associated Press reports, Florida Senators, particularly state Sen. Jack Latvala, R-Clearwater, wanted Armstrong out.”

Governor Scott can reappoint one time. If the Senate does not confirm them at the next session, they must vacate their positions.

Two other appointments have also drawn the ire of the Florida Senate. Katie Sanders from the Tampa Bay Times wrote, “Senators approved a slew of Gov. Rick Scott appointees on Thursday [May 2, 2013] and are slated to do more today. However, a few notable names will not make the cut. Unconfirmed appointments include state Surgeon General Dr. John Armstrong, Florida A&M trustee (and former Pinellas County school board member) Glenn Gilzean, and the entire Florida Polytechnic University Board of Trustees.”

Armstrong fell out of favor with senators when he failed to show up for a confirmation hearing, Latvala said. ‘There were some issues with some members of the Legislature and the way he interacted with them. It’s a little behavior management’,” Sanders reports.

Is there a double standard when it comes to recess appointments?

Surprise! Obamacare Creating Some Jobs

Sean Hackbarth from FreeEnterprise.com states, “I don’t think this was what the public had in mind when the President and supporters sold them Obamacare as a job-creator.”

The federal health law derided as a “job-killer” by critics will create an estimated 9,000 jobs in 14 states this summer to handle consumer inquiries about new online insurance marketplaces.

The jobs are through Vangent, a General Dynamics subsidiary, which was awarded a $530 million one-year contract by the federal government to set up call centers to answer inquiries (sic) related to the insurance marketplaces in 34 states where they will be run in whole or part by the federal government. Other states will run their own marketplaces with their own call centers.

“And these few thousand government-created, taxpayer-funded jobs don’t make up for the workers at the Circle K Southeast convenience store chain who will be pushed into part-time work because of the health care law. [via Free Beacon] Nor does it make up for those workers in local governmenthigher educationrestaurants, a movie theater chain, and in other firms who will also see their hours pared back,” notes Hackbarth.

Read the full column here.

 

Florida GOP says Dems ‘grandstanding’ over Medicaid expansion

Representative Dennis K. Baxley, FL District 23

Joe Saunders of BizPac Review reports, “Point made. Now, let’s get this session over with. That was the message Tuesday from two key Republicans about House Democrats’ decision to slow down business in protest over the GOP’s refusal to accept federal funding for Medicaid expansion under Obamacare. Slowing floor action to a crawl, House Democrats under Minority Leader Perry Thurston invoked the state Constitution Tuesday to force line-by-line readings of bills before they could be discussed on the House floor.”

“By purposefully slowing deliberations at this critical juncture, I and other House Democratic Caucus members seek to bring greater public attention to our desire for legislative passage of the health coverage expansion plan that the Florida Senate approved [Tuesday,]” Thurston said in a statement.

“The maneuver marred what had so far been a reasonably congenial session, said state Rep. Dennis Baxley, a veteran legislator and chairman of the House Judiciary Committee,” notes Saunders. Read more.

Avik Roy from Forbes reports, “On April 11, the GOP-controlled Florida House of Representatives passed an innovative, consumer-driven replacement for Obamacare’s Medicaid expansion, one that could be a national template for free-market health reform. But Republicans in the state Senate rejected the House plan, electing instead to expand Medicaid, as Obamacare prescribes. Senate Republicans’ inexplicable decision makes it likely that free-market reform will fail in Florida, an outcome that could easily have been avoided.”

“The House, led by Speaker Will Weatherford and PPACA Committee Chairman Richard Corcoran, passed a bill in which uninsured adults with children would receive $2,000 a year—plus their own contribution of $300—to fund a health savings account called a CARE account, which recipients could use for any health expense of their choice. They could use it to buy catastrophic coverage, or a high-end concierge primary care physician, or anything in between. In order to benefit from the subsidy, recipients would have to meet work requirements similar to those in the landmark, bipartisan 1996 welfare-reform law,” notes Roy.

Wikipedia considers deleting entry regarding abortionist Kermit Gosnell

LifeNews.com reports:

Wikipedia, the online dictionary and research web site utilized by millions of people every day, is considering deleting the entry associated with Kermit Gosnell, the infamous abortion practitioner on trial for murder.

“This article is being considered for deletion in accordance with Wikipedia’s deletion policy,” a Wikipedia headline reads in red at the top of the Gosnell entry. “Please share your thoughts on the matter at this article’s entry on the Articles for deletion page.”

The Wikipedia note instructs its web site editors, “Feel free to edit the article, but the article must not be blanked, and this notice must not be removed, until the discussion is closed.”

Wikipedia’s deletion policy includes 14 reasons for deletion ranging from “2. Copyright violations and other material violating Wikipedia’s non-free content criteria” to “9. Articles that breach Wikipedia’s policy on biographies of living persons” to articles about hoaxes.

One of the reasons “this article is being considered for deletion?”

According to one Wikipedia editor, “His case has not received national attention. It is a local multiple-murder story in Pennsylvania, nothing more.”

Read more.

VIDEO: Rubio calls for defunding Obamacare

Senator Marco Rubio’s floor statement on Obamacare:

“When they start to fully implement this over the next 12-18 months, it is going to be an epic disaster. An epic disaster. Not because it was ill-intentioned, per se. I think the goal of providing an environment where everybody can buy affordable health insurance is something we should take very seriously and we have to work on. You can’t have a strong, stable middle class if people can’t afford the cost of living. You can’t have a strong and stable middle class if people don’t have access to quality health care at an affordable price. And we should work on that. We should work on that really hard.

“But we have to do that with some balance, and this is not balanced. This is an across-the-board application to the entire country that is going to hurt a lot of people. There are people in America that are going to lose hours at work because of this bill. There are people in America that are going to lose the health insurance they have, which they are happy with, because of this bill. There are people in America that are going to have to lay people off and, therefore, there are people in America that are going to lose their jobs because of this bill. And our debt is going to grow.

“And so I hope we will pass this amendment. I hope we will defund this program. It was ill-designed and as the true ramifications of this bill begin to apply over the next few months and next couple years, we are going to be right back here on this floor trying to fix it. Because this country cannot be what it is meant to be if it has to deal with something like this hanging around its neck.”

Florida man whose ancestors escaped religious persecution in 1626 files a federal Lawsuit to escape religious persecution

Thomas Beckwith’s ancestors, enduring the hardships of a storm tossed ocean voyage, landed on American shores in 1626 to escape religious persecution from England.  One hundred and fifty years later, one of his ancestors, as a member of the Connecticut militia, fought against the tyrannical British king in the Revolutionary War.  Today, Thomas Beckwith, a devout Southern Baptist, and his family-owned  Beckwith Electric Company, Inc, filed a federal lawsuit challenging a new form of tyranny and religious persecution—the HHS Mandate.

The Thomas More Law Center (TMLC), a national public interest law firm based in Ann Arbor, Michigan, today announced it filed a 48-page federal lawsuit in a Florida Federal District Court against the Obama Administration challenging the HHS Mandate.  TMLC’s Erin Mersino is lead counsel in the case.  She is assisted by local co-counsel Paul Pizzo and Scott Richards of the Tampa firm of Fowler, White and Boggs.

Thomas Beckwith is an active member of the First Baptist Church of Indian Rocks, a Southern Baptist congregation located in Largo, Florida. 

Thomas Beckwith

Beckwith Electric founded in 1967 by his parents has 168 full-time employees and provides micro-processor-based technology that protects and controls giant power system generators, transformers, and power lines, and protects the interconnection of alternative energy.  The Company also provides energy-saving Volt/VAr optimization strategies and the automation of Conservation Voltage Reduction.

In his management of Beckwith Electric, Thomas Beckwith strives to “lead the company under God’s direction and by God’s principles.”  His Faith prompted a business model that includes generous employee benefits, including:  medical insurance, pharmacy, dental  insurance, vision insurance, group life insurance, voluntary group life insurance, short term disability, long term disability, long term care insurance, Flexible Spending Accounts, Emergency Travel Assistance, Employee Assistance Program, 401(k) Retirement Plan, Profit Sharing, Educational Assistance, Due Time (Paid Time Off), 8 Paid Holidays, and a free-of charge membership at the L.A. Fitness Gym.

The Company also provides a chaplain for those employees who may be facing difficult issues of bereavement, marriage, children, finances, addictions, elder care, and other types of crises.  Chaplains visit Plaintiff Beckwith Electric Co., Inc. on a weekly basis to build caring relationships with the employees.

Richard Land, president of the Southern Baptist Convention’s Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission, called the HHS Mandate “outrageous.”  According to Land, the Southern Baptist Convention, with more than 16 million members in the United States, “share[s] the concern of our Roman Catholic brothers and sisters.”

The Southern Baptist Convention (SBC), by which Beckwith is informed, protects the sanctity of life. According to the SBC Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission the Mandate is a threat to religious freedom. The commission stated that, “Government cannot be allowed to tell people of faith when they can live out the values of their faith and when they cannot.  We must not render to government what is God’s.”

Should Mr. Beckwith refuse to comply with the HHS Mandate, in addition to the yearly fine of $2,000 per employee amounting to $336,000 per year, the Company could also be charged with violations of the Internal Revenue Code amounting to $100 per employee per day each year totaling over $6 million in fines per year.

Richard Thompson, President and Chief Counsel of the Thomas More Law Center commented, “By promulgating the HHS Mandate, the Federal Government intentionally declared war on people of Faith.  The Law Center is privileged to represent Thomas Beckwith, a man who not only states what his Christian Faith stands for, but takes action to defend it.”

The first paragraph of the lawsuit succinctly sets forth the nature of the case: “This is a case about religious freedom. Thomas Jefferson, a Founding Father of our country, principal author of the Declaration of Independence, and our third president, when describing the construct of our Constitution proclaimed, ‘No provision in our Constitution ought to be dearer to man than that which protects the rights of conscience against the enterprises of the civil authority.’”

Thomas Beckwith believes that life begins at the moment of conception.  His deeply held religious convictions disallow him from providing for, participating in, pay for, training others to engage in, or otherwise supporting emergency contraception, abortion, abortifacients, and any drugs, devices, and service that are designed to kill innocent human life because such activities are sinful and immoral.

The purpose of the lawsuit is to permanently block the implementation of the HHS Mandate requiring employers and individuals to obtain insurance coverage for emergency contraception, abortion, abortifacients, and any drugs, devices, and service that are capable of killing innocent human life.

Named as Defendants in the lawsuit are Kathleen Sebelius, Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services; Seth D. Harris, Acting Secretary of the Department of Labor; Jack Lew, Secretary of the Department of Treasury; and their respective departments.

Click here to read the Federal Lawsuit.

ABOUT THE THOMAS MORE LAW CENTER:

The Thomas More Law Center defends and promotes America’s Judeo-Christian heritage and moral values, as well as a strong national defense and an independent and sovereign United States of America.  The Law Center accomplishes its mission through litigation, education, and related activities.  It does not charge for its services.  The Law Center is supported by contributions from individuals, corporations and foundations, and is recognized by the IRS as a section 501(c)(3) organization. 

You may reach the Thomas More Law Center at (734) 827-2001 or visit our website at www.thomasmore.org.

Sen. Feinstein Says Veterans Are Mentally Ill, Can’t Own Guns

Hat tip to Linda Palucci from Mr. Conservative Blog for picking up this testimony by Senator Diane Feinstein (D-CA). Florida is home to over 1.6 million veterans. Florida is second only to California with the largest veteran population. Florida is first of all the states as a percentage of  population.

Senator Diane Feinstein (D-CA)

Palucci reports:

Feinstein let slip her true opinion of America’s veterans during a Senate Judiciary committee hearing, when she was asked to discuss a proposed amendment to her pending gun control bill.  This amendment would have allowed military veterans to obtain guns that would be banned for other Americans.  Feinstein thought this was a terrible idea, because she presumes vets are suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome and are therefore too unstable to be trusted with weapons:

“…this adds an exemption of retired military. As I understand our bill, no issue has arose in this regard during the 10 years the expired ban was effect… and what we did in the other bill was exempt possession by the United States or a department or agency of the United States… that included active military. The problem with expanding this is that you know with the advent of PTSD, which I think is a new phenomenon as a product of the Iraq War, it’s not clear how the seller or transferrer of a firearm covered by this bill would verify that an individual was a member, or a veteran, and that there was no impairment of that individual with respect to having a weapon like this. So you know I would be happy to sit down with you again and see if we could work something out but I think we have to — if you’re going to do this, find a way that veterans who are incapacitated for one reason or another mentally don’t have access to this kind of weapon.” [My emphasis]

Palucci states, “Translation?  All vets suffer from PTSD; PTSD makes them crazy; crazy people can’t get guns.”

“Not only is Feinstein wrong about vets, she’s wrong about PTSD, which she characterizes as a ‘new phenomenon’.  In every war, some returning veterans have suffered delayed reactions.  Whether it’s World War I’s ‘shell shock’, the Vietnam war’s ‘vet syndrome’, or today’s PTSD, it’s always been out there, and it’s never been a major societal problem.  Only a Democrat would pretend that it’s something new and then use it to take away Second Amendment rights from those who have served this country in battle,” notes Palucci.

Senator Tom Coburn, M.D. (R-OK)

Halimah Abdullah from CNN reports:

Republican Sen. Tom Coburn pushed and then backed away from an amendment to block the Department of Veteran Affairs from automatically entering the names of veterans deemed “mentally incompetent” to handle their finances from having their names entered into a national background check system, thereby blocking them from gun ownership.

Instead, the Oklahoma physician wanted those case[s] decided by a judge rather than a federal agency unless those veterans had been “found by a judicial authority to be a danger to themselves or to others.”

“We’re not asking for anything big,” Coburn said at the time. “We’re just saying that if you’re going to take away the Second Amendment rights — they ought to have it adjudicated, rather than mandated by someone who’s unqualified to state that they should lose their rights.”

RELATED COLUMNS:

Vietnam Vet Barred form owning a gun because of a teenage misdemeanor 45 years ago

Should vets with PTSD, mental illness still have access to guns?

Florida House rejects Obamacare Medicaid expansion

John Hayward from Human Events reports:

On the eve of convening of the 2013 session, the House Select Committee on the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act rejected the expansion. A Senate counterpart committee postponed consideration of the issue, which is sure to be one of the biggest controversies of the session.

Scott, a Republican who bitterly fought President Barack Obama’s national healthcare plan as a candidate and in his first two years as governor, stunned conservative supporters on February 20 when he endorsed a three-year expansion of Medicaid, provided the federal government picks up the full cost for the first three years as promised.

“There’s definitely a fight between the governor and the (state) legislature over this. The Republicans in the legislature are much more fiscally conservative than his actions have shown him to be,” said Susan MacManus, a Tampa-based political scientist at the University of South Florida.

Republican legislative leaders have been openly hostile toward the plan, emphasizing that state lawmakers will make the final decision in drawing up a budget for next fiscal year.

The Florida based James Madison institute released the following statement:

The House made the right decision today to not draft a committee bill expanding Medicaid under PPACA provisions. Many Members expressed valid concerns that this could hurt the people that it is aimed at helping. State leaders should focus on providing more access to quality care — expanding a program that is inefficient in this effort is not a way to do that.

Additionally, in our recent poll of 600 registered Florida voters more than 63 percent said they are wary that the federal government would keep the funding level promises made, and clearly many House Members share this worry. If history is any indicator, costs of such programs are often underestimated and there has been examples of the federal government going back on their promise before. These issues cannot be ignored.

Senators Marco Rubio (R-FL) and Rand Paul (R-KY) will respond to the State of the Union speech

Earlier today, U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) rehearsed the Republican Address to the Nation. Senator Rubio is set to deliver a live response from the Speaker’s conference room in the U.S. Capitol, immediately following the President’s State of the Union address. He will pre-record the same speech for Spanish-language networks earlier this evening. At the same time Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) will give the TEA Party Address to the Nation from the National Press Club in Washington, D.C. Viewers will be able to watch Senator Paul’s speech live on the conservative website RedState.com.

Who will be the most watched: Marco or Rand?

Frank Hagler from Policy Mic reports:

For the third year in a row, two Republicans have been selected to give the GOP response to the SOTU address. Senator Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) will give the “official” GOP response and Senator Rand Paul (R-Ky.) will give the Tea Party Express response. This unusual practice started in 2011.

After the Tea Party helped usher in a Republican majority in the House of Representatives, they began exercising their power in the party. The Tea Party Express tapped Michele Bachmann to give a response that was televised to the nation. Tea Party Express Chairwoman Amy Kremer explained “The Republican Party doesn’t represent everybody in the Tea Party movement, and they certainly don’t speak for us.”

Scott Conroy from Real Clear Politics reports:

With Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul set to deliver the Tea Party’s third annual response to the State of the Union speech on Tuesday, the pressure is on for the group to prove its ongoing influence, particularly amid growing criticism from establishment Republicans who accuse it of promoting un-electable candidates at the larger GOP’s expense.

In an interview with RCP, Tea Party Express Chairwoman Amy Kremer acknowledged the moment’s significance.

“I really think it’s more important than ever for us to do it this year because there have been reports of the Tea Party’s demise, but we’re absolutely still here and focused and engaged,” Kremer said. “The Republican Party doesn’t represent everybody in the Tea Party movement, and they certainly don’t speak for us.”

The TEA Party is flexing its muscles with the creation of the TEA Party Community website. Launched on February 2, 2013 the site now has over 109,000 members.

The struggle within the Republican party pits the old guard lead by Karl Rove, against the conservative faction lead by Senator Paul, Michele Bachmann and others. It was the old guard that gave Florida the likes of former Governor Charlie Crist who won the state house as a Republican, lost the race as an Independent for the US Senate seat currently held by Rubio. It is expected that now Democrat Crist will run against incumbent Republican Governor Rick Scott in 2014.

Conroy notes, “Now, with Paul eager to rev up the Tea Party engine just as a new civil war against establishment Republicans appears on the horizon, the setting will look familiar.”

Perhaps now is the time for a civil war within the GOP?

Failure of the VA System: “Delay, deny, wait till I die”

Florida is home to over 1.6 million veterans and their families. Many are part of the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) healthcare system. The quality of service provided by the VA is of great importance to all veterans.

The Citrus County Florida Veterans Advisory Board has released its white paper titled Failure of the VA System: “Delay, deny, wait till I die”The role of the Advisory Board is to inform “the Veteran’s Service Office of areas of unmet needs in the veterans’ population, advises local veterans groups of services available, provides input on office policies and procedures and assists other matters specific to veteran’s services and veteran’s groups.”

The report quotes Rep. Jeff Miller, (FL CD-1), Chairman of the House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs, [Who] said the data confirmed the worst fears of many veterans and members of Congress. “The common refrain we hear from many veterans is, ‘Delay, deny, wait till I die,’ said Miller, who called the burgeoning backlog of benefits claims a ‘national embarrassment’.”

The white paper notes:

“They’re not interested in quality,” said attorney Gordon Erspamer. “They are interested in production and getting the decisions done, regardless of whether they are right or wrong. “The system is simply broke. We can do a lot better for our veterans.” The VA says its error rate on PERCENT OF PATIENTS RATING VA HEALTH disability claims is 14 percent. But the Center for Investigative Reporting analyzed a subset of those claims and found an error rate of 38 percent. And the Board of Veterans Appeals found the agency made mistakes in 73 percent of cases. Attorney Gordon Erspamer says errors are often the result of a well-known practice at the VA, “There’s a practice called topsheeting — a very famous term at the VA. And that is basically you take a look at the file, you look at the top pages of the file, and you write a decision.”

Watchdog Wire spoke with a VA physician who stated that working for the Veterans Administration is like “working for the Post Office”.

VA’s St Petersburg Regional Office Shortfalls Of major concern to Citrus County, Florida veterans is the status of our St. Petersburg Regional Office (RO), responsible for delivering non-medical VA benefits and services to 1.8 million veterans and their families in our State and 22,000 in our County. This is accomplished through the administration of comprehensive and diverse benefit programs established by Congress, and the RO goal is to deliver these benefits and services in a timely, accurate, and compassionate manner. Examples of the benefits and services that are supposed to be administered by the VA Regional Office are as follows:

  • Disability Compensation, Including Death Compensation Benefits to Eligible Survivors
  • Disability and Death Pensions for Veterans and Their Dependents
  • Veterans’ and Dependents’ Education and Training
  • Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment Assistance
  • Guaranty and Indemnity Home Loans
  • Specially Adapted Housing Grants
  • Special Benefits for the Disabled
  • Outreach
  • Certain Burial Benefits

“The St Petersburg Regional Office has historically been one of the worst cases of veterans support in the VA,” states the white paper.

To read the entire white paper click here.

Gov. Scott to Meet with HHS Secretary Sebelius on Medicaid

The Villages TEA Party in an email to its members states:

“FACTS: On Monday, January 7th, Governor Rick Scott will meet with HHS Secretary, Kathleen Sebelius to discuss expanding Medicaid in the State of Florida. Economists predicted in November 2012 that the Medicaid expansion would cost $9 Billion, however the Florida Agency for Health Care Administration estimates the cost to be near $25 Billion. Those who know the Obama Care law have always said that implementing it will break the states eventually, and increasing Medicaid is a big component in this destruction. Many are already seeing the numbers inflating.”

The costs of the Medicaid expansion will impact the Florida Medicaid program.

According to StateHealthFacts.org Florida in 2010 spent over $17.3 billion on Medicaid. Medicaid costs have gone up annually. From 1990-2001 Medicaid costs in Florida went up 11.8%. Between 2001-2010 Medicaid costs increase in Florida more than doubled to 24.5%, outpacing a national average cost increase during the same period of 19.8%.

According to the Tampa Bay Times and Miami Herald, “The federal government agreed to fund 100 percent of the cost for states to expand Medicaid for three budget years. The federal government would cover 95 percent of the costs in 2017, 94 percent of the costs in 2018, 93 percent of the costs in 2019 and 90 percent of the costs in 2020 and beyond.”

The expansion is voluntary, but the federal government said it would penalize any state (by withholding Medicaid funds) that failed to comply. That penalty was declared unconstitutional by the U.S. Supreme Court on June 28, 2012. The court’s ruling allows states like Florida to decline expansion without losing any current funding.

UPDATE:

Governor Scott release the following statement today:

WASHINGTON, DC – Today, Governor Rick Scott met with U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius to discuss how the state can improve cost, quality and access in healthcare for Florida families. Governor Scott said his meeting with Sec. Sebelius focused on the projected $26 billion state cost of doubling people in Florida’s Medicaid program under the president’s new healthcare law, and requesting HHS approval for the state’s long-term care and Statewide Medicaid Managed Care plans that would make healthcare more affordable.

Governor Scott said, “We had a great conversation with Sec. Sebelius today about how we can improve cost, quality and access in healthcare for Florida families. We need to know more about how the healthcare choices facing our state would affect families – many who are still struggling to get a job and make ends meet.

“I believe that Medicaid is an important healthcare safety net. Florida’s Medicaid program today provides health care to over 3.3 million Floridians and is approximately 30 percent of our state budget. The cost of Medicaid has been growing at three-and-one-half times the growth rate of the state’s general revenue, which crowds out our ability to invest in K-12 education, higher education and other priorities.

“Growing government is never free. Under the new healthcare law, Florida would nearly double the people in our Medicaid program over 10 years. AHCA estimates that this would result in a total cost to taxpayers of more than $63 billion over 10 years, including $26 billion in costs to Florida taxpayers. We also know that adding people to Medicaid will affect our state for generations to come because government growth is almost never reversed. The current fiscal cliff debate here in Washington is proof of that.

“I also asked Sec. Sebelius to approve our state’s Statewide Medicaid Managed Care and long term care proposals, which are currently awaiting HHS approval. We also discussed ideas for lowering health care costs, including tax incentives for individuals to buy insurance, price incentives for healthy behaviors, and flexibility to buy personalized coverage. Our ultimate goal is to lower the cost of healthcare in Florida so all families can access the level of care they desire.”

The Human-care Complex: How It All Began

Today, January 1, 2013 Obamacare taxes hit all Americans.

This is the second in a series by Watchdog Wire to explain how we came to implement this, the most sweeping of all legislation in the history of America. To read the first column please click here.

The question to be answered is: Who and what got us to this point?

Jeanne M. Lambrew, Tom Daschle and Scott S. Greenberger in their book “Critical” published in 2006 stated, “UNTIL THE BEGINNING of the twentieth century, medical care in the United States was inexpensive because it was largely ineffective.” The authors provide no evidence for this statement but it is this progressive ideal that becomes the foundation for the Patient Protection and Affordable Healthcare Act (HR 3590) passed by the 111th Congress commonly known as Obamacare.

Lambrew, Daschle and Greenberger wrote in “Critical”, “When Progressive Era [1890-1920] reformers turned their attention to workers’ health, they decided to put compulsory health insurance on the national agenda for the first time. In 1914, the American Association for Labor Legislation began drafting legislation to provide workers with free medical care, paid sick leave, and a modest death benefit. By 1917, the AALL bill had been introduced in fourteen state legislatures. The fate of the legislation foreshadowed the health insurance debates that occurred throughout the twentieth century.”

The American Association for Labor Legislation was formed to promote uniformity of labor legislation and to encourage the study of labor conditions with a view toward promoting desirable legislation. The Association was founded as a branch of the International Association for Labor Legislation. Preliminary discussions about forming the group occurred during 1905 and culminated in the first meeting of the Association held on February 15, 1906, in New York City.

“Physicians, fearing that any third-party payer, especially the government, would regulate doctors’ fees vigorously opposed it. They were allied with the insurance companies, which worried that government health insurance would undermine the private life insurance market. In a 1918 referendum, the measure was soundly defeated,” wrote Lambrew, Daschle and Greenberger.

While the arguments against government health insurance remain the same the progressive movement did not let it die.

In 1918 some unions supported the bill, but others joined with employers to fight it. Samuel Gompers, President of the American Federation of Labor (AFL), denounced the proposal as “a menace to the rights, welfare, and liberty of American workers.” According to Lambrew, Daschle and Greenberger “[O]pponents of national health insurance would raise the specter of ‘socialized medicine’ to great effect.”

What happened next set the stage for the creation of the Human-care Complex.

Because people had so little money, hospital occupancy rates plummeted. In search of a steady source of revenue, hospitals began offering “prepayment” plans to certain groups, such as hospital employees, teachers, and firefighters. For a monthly fee, members were guaranteed free hospital care if they ever needed it. So began the road to human-care insurance based upon expanding access based on illness rather than health.

Lambrew, Daschle and Greenberger wrote, “The hospital prepayment plans endured, evolving into the Blue Cross system and becoming the model for group health insurance as we know it today. One crucial feature of the plans was that they were employment-based—that is, they were offered to groups of workers large enough to spread out the cost of caring for the sick or injured. Still spooked by the prospect of government-sponsored health insurance, many employers accepted the Blue Cross system as a more palatable alternative.”

But just like all private sector solutions created through necessity, the government took an interest and become more directly involved in human-care via the tax codes.

“Our employment-based system solidified during World War II, when the federal government [tax] exempted ‘fringe benefits’ such as health insurance from wage and price,” noted Lambrew, Daschle and Greenberger.

And so it grew. To attract workers, who were scarce because so many men were in the military during WW II, some employers offered them generous health coverage. The government’s decision to exempt health benefits from personal income taxes accelerated the trend. Unions bolstered the nascent insurance system by cutting their own deals with hospitals and later with the Blue Cross.

The next column will look into the expansion of the government/human-care industrial complex from 1945 to today.

Leaders in Florida Should Seize Momentum to Reject Health Insurance Exchanges

Tallahassee, Florida— Today Americans for Prosperity (AFP) the nation’s largest and most effective advocate for economic freedom released the following statement calling on state leaders to reject the state-based health insurance exchanges.

“State leaders should join the growing chorus in sending a strong message to Washington that their states will not implement these flawed health insurance exchanges,” said Slade O’Brien, Florida State Director. “Exchanges will increase prices on consumers and increase taxes on hardworking families.”

Multiple governors have announced this week that they will not create an exchange. This list now includes Mike Pence (IN), John Kasich (OH), Robert Bentley (AL), Bobby Jindal (LA), Sam Brownback (KS), Rick Perry (TX), Nikki Haley (SC), Nathan Deal (GA), Robert McDonnell (VA) and Jay Nixon (MO). AFP applauds these steps.

“It is disconcerting to see Florida’s legislative leaders urging the Governor to create a state-based health insurance exchange. AFP strongly opposes any and all attempts to create an exchange and expand Florida’s Medicaid program” O’Brien continued.

The federal government is offering unlimited grants to states to create an exchange between now and the end of 2014. All exchanges must be self-funding starting in 2015. Each governor must notify the federal government by Friday, November 16, 2012, of his or her decision whether to create a state-based health insurance exchange, defer to the federal government or partner on a hybrid-exchange.

“Federal funds are flowing freely to buy state compliance, but state budgets will take the hit in two short years,” said Nicole Kaeding, AFP state policy manager. “Creating an exchange puts state taxpayers on the hook for millions of dollars every year. States should reject these bloated bureaucracies.”

Americans for Prosperity (AFP) is a nationwide organization of citizen-leaders committed to advancing every individual’s right to economic freedom and opportunity. AFP believes reducing the size and intrusiveness of government is the best way to promote individual productivity and prosperity for all Americans. For more information, visit www.americansforprosperity.org

Top U.S. Policy And Industry Leaders To Gather In Miami To Discuss Health Care

CORAL GABLES, Fla., Nov. 12, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/

In the wake of the 2012 U.S. presidential and congressional elections, the University of Miami School of Business Administration will bring together some of the nation’s leading health care policy and industry leaders for a conference focused on the impact that the election results will have on health care reform and what it will mean for health care organizations and business in general.

The conference on Feb. 1, 2013, ” The Business of Health Care Post-Election ,” will be hosted by the School’s Center for Health Sector Management and Policy and will come within two weeks of the inauguration of Barack Obama for a second term as president.

“The re-election of President Obama and other election results put renewed focus on health care reform and the impact that it will have on the financing and delivery of health care as well as on the business community,” said Steven Ullmann, director of the Center for Health Sector Management and Policy at the UM School of Business. “This conference will provide a unique opportunity for professionals across industries to hear from many of the thought leaders who have been at the forefront of the health care debate, and to exchange ideas on what’s in store for businesses and health care organizations as a result of the election.”

Conference Speakers and Moderators Include:

  • Tom Daschle, Senior Policy Adviser, DLA Piper; Former U.S. Senate Majority Leader; and Author, “Critical: What We Can Do About the Health-Care Crisis”
  • Robert Galvin, MD, CEO, Equity Healthcare Operating Partner, The Blackstone Group; and Former Executive Director, Health Services and Chief Medical Officer, General Electric
  • Karen Ignagni, President and CEO, America’s Health Insurance Plans
  • Chris Jennings, President, Jennings Policy Strategies; Former Senior Health Care Advisor to President Bill Clinton; and Former Staff Director, Bipartisan Policy Center’s Comprehensive Health Reform Policy Project
  • Mark McClellan, MD, Director and Leonard D. Schaeffer Chair in Health Policy Studies, Engleberg Center for Health Care Reform, Brookings Institution; Former Administrator, Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, Department of Health and Human Services; and Former Senior Director, Health Care Policy under President George W. Bush
  • James T. Olsen, Managing Director and Head of Healthcare Advisory Services, Bank of America Merrill Lynch
  • Moderators include Donna E. Shalala, president of the University of Miami and former U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services; Richard L. Clarke, former president and CEO of the Healthcare Financial Management Association; and Patrick J. Geraghty, the chairman and CEO of Florida Blue.

The conference is expected to draw those working within the industries of health care, health care delivery and health care policy and administration, as well as business leaders and other professionals in the finance, technology, legal, marketing, government and public policy, and academic sectors. The conference is presented by Bank of America Merrill Lynch and Florida Blue. The early registration deadline is November 30 . More information can be found here.

About the University of Miami School of Business Administration

The University of Miami School of Business Administration is a comprehensive business school, offering undergraduate business, full-time MBA, Executive MBA, MS, Ph.D. and non-degree executive education programs. One of 12 colleges and schools at the University of Miami, the School is located in a major hub of international trade and commerce and acclaimed for the global orientation and diversity of its faculty, students and curriculum. More information about the University of Miami School of Business Administration can be found here.

SOURCE University of Miami School of Business Administration

CONTACT: Tracy Simon, University of Miami School of Business Administration, +1-267-679-277, tsimon@bus.miami.edu or tlsimonPR@gmail.com