Thursday, March 20, 2014

North Carolina's Obamacare Dystopia

The Obamacare chickens are coming home to roost.  North Carolina lawmakers held a forum outlining the consequences of this disastrous program that was destined to fail.  Carolina Journal reported the following:

RALEIGH — State lawmakers were presented Tuesday with a litany of potential horror stories related to the federal Affordable Care Act. At its worst, Obamacare would sock North Carolina with thousands of job losses, double-digit insurance premium increases, deep Medicare cuts to help pay for the health reform, and insolvent hospitals and medical facilities

Chris Conover, a professor at Duke University’s Center for Health Policy and Inequalities Research, offered this grim assessment to the General Assembly’s Joint Study Committee on the Affordable Care Act and Implementation Issues.

And Conover was not alone. Mona Moon, executive administrator of the State Health Plan for Teachers and State Employees, said the retirement system would incur $116 million in Obamacare compliance costs by 2017. The ever-evolving law could tag taxpayers with additional costs on state agencies, school systems, community colleges, and universities, Moon said.

Mark Fleming, vice president of government affairs for Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina, said the insurance giant already sees “troubling trends,” including a mix of patients that has been sicker than expected and a program infrastructure that remains a work in progress long after its launch.

Fleming warned of the potential for higher insurance premiums for all North Carolinians as a result.

Yet, even with the facts looking them straight in the eye, Democrats still are in denial:

The cascade of negative testimony caused some Democratic committee members to roll their eyes. Some walked out early on Conover’s harsh evaluation, and Sen. Floyd McKissick, D-Durham, issued an almost plaintive request.

“Is it intended that we will have someone speak and provide us information who actually believes the Affordable Care Act is a good idea?” he said. “Or are we only going to hear from those who are in opposition to the Affordable Care Act?”

State Rep. Verla Insko, D-Orange, expressed surprise at Conover’s contention that the state’s economy would shrink by 90,000 full-time equivalent jobs, and 300,000 full-time equivalent positions would shift to part-time, as employers try to avoid the employer mandate to pay for insurance for full-time workers and other Obamacare-related costs.

“I don’t know that there’s any reason why the Affordable Care Act would cause a reduction in the number of employees unless we had robots doing some of the work,” Insko said. 

She also insisted that higher taxes could be an economic stimulus because of multiplier effects of government spending, and that some of the nation’s most robust economies are in high-tax states

Amazing!  Absolutely amazing, that after all that has happened and all that is yet to come, these people are completely blinded by their ideology.  And as usual this so-called representative believes government spending is the answer to our economic woes.  Without a doubt, Rep. Verla Insko believes the New Deal pulled us out of the Great Depression.

If you think the above employment assessment is bleak, wait until you read the following prospects for our utopian health care system:

“Relatively minor improvements” in benefits under Obamacare “are more than offset by the sizable cuts in Medicare … to bankroll 40 percent of the ACA’s costs,” Conover said. Continued Medicare cuts in doctor payments “will be devastating” to seniors’ access to health care, according to Medicare’s actuaries, he said.

“Very deep cuts” in Medicaid Disproportionate Share payments to hospitals are planned atop a 75 percent cut in Medicare DSH payments, Conover said. Those payments cover the cost for the uncompensated care of uninsured people. 

Medicaid is prohibited by statute from paying more than Medicare for hospital services, so Medicare cuts will drive payment rates for both Medicaid and Medicare to well below the levels that are paid by private insurers, Conover said. 

The Medicare actuary predicts that 15 percent of health facilities will be operating in the red by 2020 as a result. 

“As these facilities are shuttered or start shedding money-losing services such as emergency rooms, this obviously is going to have adverse effects on access to care for the community at large, not just for seniors,” Conover said.

A quarter of North Carolina doctors do not accept Medicaid patients now due to low reimbursement rates. 

“The ACA has put Medicare on a path to soon be paying less than Medicaid does for doctor services,” Conover said. “We can only imagine what’s going to happen to access to care to seniors when Medicare’s payment rates are less than half of the Medicaid levels.”

We are in the throes of the Democratic Party’s dystopia. If we continue on this path, can anyone say:  Look out Venezuela, here we come!

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