Last week ObamaCare passed its sixth anniversary but no one was celebrating. Even the White House tried hard to avoid any discussion of the law’s failures, preferring to discuss other issues.
HHS Secretary Sylvia Matthews Burwell said she wants to “broaden the conversation” by talking about delivery system reform and bundled payments – not exactly issues of great concern to the American people. Most likely she just wants to bore people with the subject in hopes they’ll not bring up ObamaCare’s obvious failures.
Grace-Marie Turner, writing in Forbes, says this is quite a contrast from six years ago. On the eve of passage of the law on March 23, 2010, Congress was preparing to take the final vote and former Speaker Nancy Pelosi and other Democrats rhapsodized about the lofty goals they would achieve:
- “The United States will finally join the rest of the civilized world in achieving universal coverage. . . “
- “Families will save thousands of dollars on premiums. . . “
- “No one will be denied care because they can’t afford to pay. . . “
- “Passage of this law will reduce the federal budget deficit. . . “
These are but a few of the many unfulfilled promises of ObamaCare.
Critics, on the other hand, predicted:
- Costs would increase
- Millions of people would lose their doctors and their coverage
- Tens of millions of people still would be without coverage
- Millions with coverage still would find it difficult to afford their premiums and medical bills.
All of these predictions came true.
The Galen Institute has documented 70 changes to the law since it was passed. The White House has made 43 changes to the law without Congressional approval, Congress has made 24 changes to the law, and the Supreme Court has made 3 changes to the law. Most of these changes by the Obama administration were designed to soften the blow of the law by delaying, altering, and even eliminating provisions of the law that were unpopular.
Changes by Congress were mostly done to protect the American people from its costs and overreach, such as eliminating the long-term care insurance Ponzi scheme, protecting businesses from burdensome 1099 reporting requirements, delaying some of its mandates and taxes, and blocking further waste of taxpayer funds to prop up failing co-ops.
The White House is undeterred by its past failures and intends to press on with an aggressive agenda of further changes without congressional approval. This president has repeatedly shown his disdain for the Constitution and the normal legislative process so he will continue to use executive orders to attempt to rescue the law.
Obama wants to change Medicare Advantage plans offered to retirees of companies, labor unions and municipal governments – called Medicare Advantage Employer-Group Waiver Plans (EGWP, pronounced “egg whips”). More than 18 million seniors have enrolled in these popular plans because they get better benefits and services than in traditional Medicare. More than 3 million of those seniors are in EGWP plans.
For the last three years, the Obama administration has submitted its budget to Congress with calls to reduce the payments to these popular plans. Each year Congress has declined their request. Naturally, the White House now intends to bypass Congress and plans to cut payments to these plans on its own.
These Medicare Advantage plans are already saving the government money when compared to traditional Medicare. But cutting payments to these plans will inevitably lead to fewer physicians accepting these plans – which will reduce access to good physicians and the popularity of these plans – and their cost savings!
Seniors have become the pawn in this administration’s game to reduce healthcare spending at any cost – even the cost of the quality of seniors’ healthcare.