Friday, December 11, 2009

ReidCare Compromise Could Produce "Insurance Death Spiral"

No, that's not the latest quote from Sarah Palin's Facebook page or the name of a new punk band. Instead, it's the opinion of the President's own Department of Health and Human Services (in particular, Office of the Actuary, which does long-range cost estimates for Medicare). Here's the AP with the stunning news:
A new report from government economic analysts at the Health and Human Services Department found that the nation's $2.5 trillion annual health care tab won't shrink under the Democratic blueprint that senators are debating. Instead, it would grow somewhat more rapidly than if Congress does nothing.

More troubling was the report's assessment that the Democrats' plan to squeeze Medicare for $493 billion over 10 years in savings relies on specific policy changes that "may be unrealistic" and could lead to cuts in services. The Medicare savings are expected to cover about half the nearly $1 trillion, 10-year cost of expanding coverage to the uninsured.

In still more bad news, the report starkly warned that a new long-term care insurance plan included in the legislation could "face a significant risk of failure" because it would attract people in poor health, leading to higher and higher premiums, and eventually triggering an "insurance death spiral."
Wow. Of course, for anyone paying attention, these conclusions aren't exactly "stunning." Medicare's been hemorrhaging cash for decades (as noted in the HHS report). But what's completely mind-blowing is that these statements came from Obama's own Executive Branch!

You know, with friends like these....

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