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Posts tagged ‘Medicaid’

Economist Morici: Obama’s Minimum Wage Hike Will Cost Jobs.


A leading economist says the Congressional Budget Office is correct when it says President Barack Obama’s increase in the minimum wage for federal workers will lead to massive job losses.

“In the past when we’ve raised the minimum raise, it’s merely been to catch up with inflation,” Peter Morici, a professor of international business at the University of Maryland, told “The Steve Malzberg Show” on Newsmax TV.

“But the president is talking about a 40 percent increase. Going to McDonald’s is going to be like going to the Automat. They won’t be able to afford their people out there for you, or they’ll be closing McDonalds,” he said Wednesday.

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The increase, to $10.10 per hour for federal workers, will also have a ripple effect, Morici says.

“What they didn’t tell you, though, is if you raise the wages of 16 million Americans by $4 to $5 an hour, someone’s going to be charging higher prices and those wages won’t be worth what they’re worth today,” he said.

“So, a lot of this will be dissipated by inflation. What’s more, the economy will grow more slowly and Mr. Obama will have less real dollars to pay all of his welfare programs.

“The programs that these people depend on, like Medicaid and food stamps and so forth, will be under increasing stress because, guess what, the president has discovered he can’t cut defense any more.”

See “The Steve Malzberg Show” on Newsmax TV each weekday live by clicking here now.

© 2014 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

 

Sen. Hatch: GOP Health Plan Makes Financial Sense.


The GOP health plan proposal “makes sense from the financial standpoint” as an alternative to Obamacare, a law that will eventually run the country into bankruptcy, Sen. Orrin Hatch said Thursday.

“We’ve got to come up with a consumer-based approach that really gets rid of Obamacare, but also makes sense from the financial standpoint,” the Utah Republican told MSNBC’s “Daily Rundown.”

“What people don’t realize is, the Obamacare is going to run us right into bankruptcy. We won’t be able to pay for it,” he added.

Story continues below video.

The GOP alternative, called the Patient Choice Affordability, Responsibility, and Empowerment Act, or CARE, was introduced by Hatch and co-sponsored by Sens. Tom Coburn of Oklahoma and Richard Burr of North Carolina. He said his bill would keep some of the more popular aspects of Obamacare, including health coverage for pre-existing conditions and children being able to stay on their parents’ health plan through age 26.

Hatch said the bill takes out the costly mandates, taxes, and regulations in Obamacare, and shifts the management of healthcare to the states. He described it as a “consumer-based program” that saves money because it gets “rid of the bureaucrats … in Washington, and all of the government processes that just eat up funds right and left.”

Obamacare was “not going to work,” Hatch said, and explained one problem with the law was that it pushed costs into Medicaid. He said the GOP bill would “reform Medicaid and make it work again.”

“In the future, [Medicaid] is going to be unfunded, and we’ve got to find some way of … completely rehabilitating Medicaid. And we do that in our bill,” he said.

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© 2014 Newsmax. All rights reserved.
By Wanda Carruthers

Big Medicaid Changes in 2014 Under Obamacare.


Millions of Americans who consider themselves able-bodied and middle class will in 2014 find themselves covered by a remodeled Medicaid program that previously had the image of serving the poor and disabled.

People who live in the District of Columbia and the 25 states which have expanded Medicaid coverage under the Affordable Care Act will see Medicaid taking on a wider role in providing healthcare, The Washington Post reported.

From Wednesday, anyone in those places with an individual income of less than $15,856 a year, including childless adults, as well as families with earnings below $32,499 will be eligible for Medicaid coverage. Among those likely to seek Medicaid will be the unemployed, lower-paid workers, those just entering the job market and retirees who do not yet qualify for Medicare.

In states where Medicaid has not been expanded it will cover its usual catchment of children and those with very-low incomes as well as the elderly poor and handicapped.

The Supreme Court ruled in the summer of 2013 that the Obama administration could not compel states to expand their Medicaid services. The original plan was to use Medicaid expansion as part of a comprehensive Obamacare effort to provide all Americans with health coverage.

Starting in 2014, in all states, Medicaid will no longer factor personal savings — except for those in long-term care— in determining eligibility.

Medicaid presently covers more Americans than Medicare. Both programs were created by the Lyndon Johnson administration‘s Great Society legislation in 1965.

Matt Salo, who heads the National Association of Medicaid Directors, noted that “Medicaid — for all the good we think it does, and it does do a lot of good — does have a connotation,” of being a program for the very poor, the Post reported.

Opponents of the expansion say it will encourage dependency on the government. “It is very bad social welfare policy,” said Edmund Haislmaier, of the Heritage Foundation.

“You are taking people who are by and large young, healthy and perfectly capable productive members of society and encouraging them to become dependent on public assistance. This is the very last population you want to do that for.”

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© 2013 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

 

By Elliot Jager

Gov. Walker’s ‘Third Way’ Medicaid Plan Criticized as 2016 Maneuver.


Image: Gov. Walker's 'Third Way' Medicaid Plan Criticized as 2016 Maneuver

By Melissa Clyne

 

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker’s proposed “third way” Medicaid option to make sure his state’s residents have insurance coverage is a maneuver some political pundits claim is designed to lay the groundwork for a 2016 presidential bid by the Republican.

Walker’s plan to turn down federal dollars offered to expand Medicaid coverage in the Badger State would actually increase its rolls by more than 80,000 adults, The Wall Street Journal reports.

Currently, Wisconsin offers one of the most sweeping Medicaid programs in the country, covering adults making up to twice the federal poverty level. The proposed Walker plan would cover only those earning at or below the poverty level — $11,490 annually for a single person — freeing up money to open enrollments, which have been frozen since 2009, when spending caps forced the suspension of new enrollees.

The move, which could help raise his profile during a presidential run, allows Walker to tout the conservative position of opposing Obamacare while appealing to a broader base of voters concerned with getting healthcare coverage.

Walker’s political capital increased after surviving a 2012 recall election brought on by Democrats angry over Walker’s decision to limit the collective bargaining rights of state employees.

Medicaid expansion became optional under a 2012 Supreme Court ruling. The federal government has guaranteed financing states’ expansion costs through 2016 and at least 90 percent afterward.

But some GOP governors, including Rick Perry of Texas, don’t trust the promise. Perry rejected the expansion, arguing that states would ultimately get stuck footing the bill. Ohio’s John Kasich is taking the federal money while governors in Pennsylvania and Tennessee have tried to get the federal Medicaid money but use it to expand private coverage, the Journal reported Wednesday.

Though Walker’s plan reduces the number of Wisconsin residents who would qualify for Medicaid, the 77,000 people losing coverage would qualify for subsidies with monthly premiums less than $20, Kaiser Health News reports.

“You’re going to hear some detractors claim that moving people to the private market or to the exchanges isn’t affordable,” Walker says. “I think most people would find it hard to imagine that with the tax subsidies, that $19 a month is somehow not affordable. I think it is.”

Walker’s “third way” option “allows him to combat criticism either for accepting the federal money or blocking a Medicaid expansion,” according to the Journal.

“In our state, we didn’t take that false choice,” Walker said. “We picked a third option. For the first time in our state’s history, everyone in poverty will be covered.”

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© 2013 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

Polls: 77 Percent of Uninsured Don’t Want Obamacare, Majority of Voters Want Repeal.


Image: Polls: 77 Percent of Uninsured Don't Want Obamacare, Majority of Voters Want Repeal

By Courtney Coren

Two out of three voters want Obamacare delayed, including a majority of Democrats who now say they want the new healthcare law postponed — a surge in sentiment that has climbed 10 percent since October in the latest Fox New poll. 

A majority said they would vote to have the new healthcare law repealed, if they were able, and they wish it had never passed and the old system was still in place, according to the poll taken Dec. 14-16 of 1,027 registered voters across the country.

The Fox News poll was one of two polls published Wednesday that showed the growing unpopularity of the law. The latest New York Times/CBS News poll also showed that a majority disapprove of the new health care law, even the uninsured, who are supposed to benefit from the law.

Seventy-seven percent of the uninsured told The Times that they disagree with the requirement to buy insurance, in the poll taken Dec. 5-8 of 1,000 adults and Dec. 4-15 of 702 of uninsured adults.

While a majority said they were likely to get insurance by the end of the open enrollment period on March 31, 35 percent said they would likely just opt to pay the fine. Getting the uninsured to enroll through one of the exchanges is considered key to making Obamacare financially viable.

However, only 37 percent of Americans and 33 percent of the uninsured in that poll believe the healthcare law should be repealed altogether, a number that has fallen since November before the front-end of HealthCare.gov was largely fixed.

In the Fox News poll, 60 percent said they don’t believe enough people will enroll in health insurance, which would help the success of the law.

While 42 percent of the uninsured in The Times poll said they perused one of the government ran health insurance exchanges, only 10 percent said they had actually applied.

Two-in-three voters in the Fox News poll said the Obama Administration knew that it wasn’t true that Americans who liked their doctors would be able to keep their doctors. Ninety-five percent of those polled said being able to choose their own doctor is important.

Over 70 percent find the broken promises that individuals could keep their health insurance and/or doctors troubling.

The same poll also had 59 percent of voters saying they disapprove of Obama’s job performance on healthcare.

Thirty percent of the uninsured in The Times poll predict that Obamacare will cause quality of care to worsen.

Robyn Logan of Bowie, Marlyand is an uninsured Democrat who is skeptical of the affect Obamacare will have on the health care system and her ability to see a doctor.

“I need to see a doctor and my fear is that even if I get insurance, I won’t be able to find one,” she said. “I was on Medicaid at one point and couldn’t find a doctor because no one would take me.”

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Polls: GOP Support Rebounds as Democrats Stumble Over Obamacare
AP Poll: Nearly 4 in 5 Say Obamacare Will Worsen Insurance Coverage

© 2013 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

Report: Obamacare Health Enrollment Doubled in November.


Image: Report: Obamacare Health Enrollment Doubled in November

The number of people seeking health insurance under Obamacare more than doubled in November to around 250,000, according to a government report on Wednesday, showing the landmark healthcare law is still far from its goal of extending coverage to millions of uninsured Americans.The new tally brought the cumulative total for October and November to 365,000 people who have selected health plans in new online marketplaces set up in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. Just over 800,000 have been determined eligible for government health coverage including the Medicaid program for the poor.

The data reflects continued technical problems in November with the federal enrollment website, HealthCare.gov, which crashed on its Oct. 1 launch and was subjected to weeks of emergency fixes. The site has appeared to work far more smoothly since the beginning of this month.

A senior administration official said the weak start to the six-month enrollment period has not diminished expectations that President Barack Obama’s signature domestic policy will reach a significant proportion of the uninsured in 2014. Before the launch, the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office had forecast 7 million enrollees for next year.

“We think we’re on track and we’ll reach the total that we thought,” said Mike Hash, health reform director for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).

“We’re not exclusively focused on reaching a particular number,” he added. “What we’re focused on is reaching the millions of people who are really looking for affordable healthcare coverage.”

Officials described the figures as “encouraging” news for Obamacare after months of negative publicity over HealthCare.gov and an uproar over coverage cancellations for people whose health plans do not meet the law’s new standards that take full effect in January.

The latest report showed more than 44 million visits to federal and state websites or call centers since Oct. 1. It showed 1.9 million people have been determined eligible for coverage but have not yet selected a plan.

The number of people who signed up for coverage through HealthCare.gov quadrupled to more than 100,000 in November from only 27,000 in October, as the administration scrambled to make the site work smoothly for most visitors by a Nov. 30 deadline.

Analysts say December’s enrollment numbers will be more telling about whether the sign-up effort will live up to expectations, including a push to enroll some 2.7 million young, healthy adults whose premium payments will help offset the cost of sicker individuals. The December data is not due until next month.

“We know that they were still having problems with the website in a good chunk of November. Reportedly the website issues are getting better and they are seeing large numbers of visitors coming back. But is it actually translating into enrollment?” said Matthew Eyles, an executive vice president at the consulting firm Avalere Health.

The 2010 Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act requires most Americans to have at least enrolled in health coverage by the end of next March or pay a penalty. It provides federal subsidies to help lower-income people pay for insurance and establishes a series of new consumer protections and benefit standards.

Millions of Americans who may need benefits to begin on Jan. 1 need to enroll by a Dec. 23 deadline. But whether they will seek plans through an Obamacare marketplace, and whether HealthCare.gov will be able to process higher volumes of visitors, remain open questions.

Administration officials said last week that as many as 10 percent of enrollments processed through HealthCare.gov included errors when they were transmitted to insurance companies.

The government and insurers were due to begin a new effort to reconcile their enrollment data to ensure consumer details were correctly transmitted and eliminate other errors that could prevent people from receiving their benefits come Jan. 1.

The U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), the HHS agency responsible for the Obamacare marketplaces, was expected to hand over its enrollment data for October, November and early December to insurers so they could begin the cumbersome process of verifying the data, according to insurance industry officials.

© 2013 Thomson/Reuters. All rights reserved.

Source: Newsmax.com

Cato’s Tanner: 9-in-10 Obamacare Sign-Ups Are for Medicaid.


Image: Cato's Tanner: 9-in-10 Obamacare Sign-Ups Are for Medicaid

By Sandy Fitzgerald

Some 1.6 million Americans have registered for Obamacare, but more than nine-out-of-10 of them actually signed up for Medicaid, a trend that could end up slamming federal and state government budgets.

Medicaid, Medicare, and Social Security already account for 48 percent of federal spending, writes economist Michael Tanner, a senior fellow for the Cato Institutein an article for The New York Post.  But with Obamacare adding to the Medicaid costs, “we are picking up speed on the road to insolvency,” Tanner writes.

The Medicaid program is already the third-largest government program in the United States, coming in only behind Social Security and Medicare, with more than $265 billion a year being spent.

“It’s going to get worse,” Tanner warns. “Congress has shown no ability to reform Social Security or Medicare. With Obamacare adding to Medicare spending, we are picking up speed on the road to insolvency.”

Tanner said of the 1.6 million who have signed up under the Affordable Care Act, 1.46 million have gone into Medicaid.

The Congressional Budget Office has projected that Medicaid spending will more than double in the next decade, and will top $554 billion by 2023 in federal dollars alone, Tanner pointed out, and state governments are already paying $160 billion, marking their largest expenditure.

The projections on Obamacare did not see that so many people would be Medicaid-eligible, said Tanner, with planners expecting that most people who enrolled would qualify for subsidized private health care programs.

Since Medicare will put a burden on the nation’s struggling federal budget, it may not take long before changes in how the federal government reimburses states are ordered, which could cost states millions of dollars.

“Every bit as bad as the cost is the fact that for all this money, recipients are going to get pretty lousy health care,” said Tanner, pointing out studies that show Medicaid patients “wait longer and receive worse care than the uninsured,” while reimbursing doctors only 72 cents out of each dollar of costs.

With Obamacare increasing the Medicaid rolls without increasing the number of doctors who will accept it, the quality of care will only become worse, he warns.

“We don’t know yet whether the rush to Medicaid will continue,” Tanner said. “It may be that the troubles with the Obamacare website might have skewed the early signups. But if Obamacare really does lead to a massive expansion of this costly and inefficient program, that’s bad news for taxpayers, providers and patients.”

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© 2013 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

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