Lean HealthCare requires defunding ObamaCare

by admin on 06/19/2011 1:47 PM

Viewpoints: ObamaCare should be defunded – now
Sally Pipes – Special to THE BEE – Friday, Apr. 01, 2011

Last week, the Obama administration’s top lawyer, acting Solicitor General Neal Katyal, asked the Supreme Court not to honor Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli’s request to fast-track his state’s constitutional challenge to the federal health care law. Katyal argued that there was “ample time before 2014” – the year by which all Americans must have health insurance – so the high court need not rush to hear the case.

Unfortunately, between now and then, the majority of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act’s other provisions will take effect. Implementing those provisions will require billions of dollars – money that could be for naught if the Supreme Court invalidates the law.

With this year’s budget deficit near $1.4 trillion, that’s also money we don’t have. Now is the time to defund the law – not just because the law’s fate is uncertain, but because we can’t afford to implement it.
At least 44 states and the District of Columbia are facing deficits that total $112 billion over the next year. They may welcome the initial seed money that Obamacare provides to expand Medicaid – the joint federal-state health insurance program for the poor – and fulfill other provisions of the law. But they’ll be left holding the bag in just a few years, when the federal subsidies run out.

A report commissioned by Sens. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, and Fred Upton, R-Mich., projects that Obamacare “will cost state taxpayers at least $118.04 billion through 2023” thanks to the required expansion of Medicaid. When it passed, the health care reform law contained $105 billion in approved funding through 2019. This year, the legislation is set to spend $23 billion.

Congress could put a stop to these expenditures. Republicans have professed their opposition to the law, but they appear to be balking at the prospect of actually cutting off funding.

That’s too bad, as several of Obamacare’s newly established programs have no business drawing on taxpayer funds. . .

In the past, Berwick has expressed admiration for government-run, single-payer health care systems – which control costs by rationing care. American patients accustomed to receiving the world’s most advanced care should hope that the Center for Innovation doesn’t deem single-payer a payment model worth testing.

Another reform worthy of the chopping block is the minimum medical loss ratio, which requires that health insurance firms spend 80 percent of premiums in the individual and small-group markets – and 85 percent of premiums in the large-group markets – on medical claims.

Minimum medical loss ratios will cripple competition by forcing smaller insurers that don’t have the economies of scale needed to comply with the rules from the marketplace. Indeed, research from PricewaterhouseCoopers has shown that residents of states with minimum loss ratios face lower levels of competition – and higher prices – than their counterparts in states without them. . .

Absent action, the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office projects that from 2014 to 2023, America will spend $2 trillion – a little over 14 percent of the national debt – on the president’s health care reform effort.

Simply put, the American people can’t afford Obamacare – and would like a defund.

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