Friday, October 16, 2009

Welfare Health Care

The CBO projects 14,000,000,000 will go on welfare if the Baucus health care bill is enacted. According to the Directors blog:
Under the proposal, the share of legal nonelderly residents with insurance coverage would rise from about 83 percent currently to about 94 percent. Roughly 23 million people would purchase their own coverage through the new insurance exchanges, and there would be roughly 14 million more enrollees in Medicaid and CHIP than is projected under current law. Relative to currently projected levels, the number of people either purchasing individual coverage outside the exchanges or obtaining coverage through employers would decline by several million.

So 14 million, some of whom may have private coverage now, will find themselves getting second class health care through the welfare system. Americans who voted for change you can believe in will find themselves at welfare offices signing up for SCHIP (Peachcare in Georgia) and Medicaid.

Since Medicaid and SCHIP pay providers 20 - 25% less than private health insurance moving in this direction will actually be less expensive than putting these people on private plans. That means Congress is pretty shrewd in playing to those who are looking for a handout from the working class. Just like Oliver Twist, those who receive care through Medicaid will be coming back asking "Please, may I have some more?"

In most areas less than half the physicians are willing to treat Medicaid patients, so one wonders if putting more people on welfare medicine will put a bigger strain on the system.

Currently, those of us with private insurance are paying higher medical bills, and in turn, higher health insurance premiums, to subsidize the shortfall that results from treating Medicaid patients. As more go on the dole, expect the cost of our health care to rise and likewise so will health insurance premiums.

Medicaid and SCHIP are federal programs that are at least partially funded at the state level. Each state will have to raise taxes to cover the cost of expanded Medicaid and SCHIP roles. How much is anyone's guess but Tennessee's Democratic Governor Bredesen had this observation.
Gov. Phil Bredesen warned Tuesday that pending federal health care legislation could cost Tennessee far more than the $735 million “best estimate” his administration previously has cited.

The $735 million would stretch over five years, but “in addition, there are huge unknowns for the states in this reform,” Gov. Bredesen said, estimating that those costs, if realized, could exceed another $3 billion from 2014 to 2019.

You need to know that any estimates by the CBO do not include cost shifting and tax increases at the state level. Neither do they include increases in health insurance premiums.

When you add it all up you have to wonder just how much this whale is actually going to cost the taxpayers. Just another stupid government trick.
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