A new Heritage Foundation report details 10 ways seniors will have their health care severely limited by Obamacare.
Under Obamacare, all preventive services rated "A" or "B" by the United States Preventive Services Task Force are mandatory and all patients must pay premiums for these services. Any service rated "C" or "D" -- like screening for testicular or ovarian cancer -- could be dropped to keep costs down.
Obamacare dictates expanded preventative care for women, including forcing Americans to pay for contraception or abortifacient drugs. Adding this coverage when it is unnecessary or against religious beliefs raises the cost of health insurance without adding useful coverage.
Obamacare includes an "essential health benefits package" which is a list of services the Department of Health and Human Services demands health insurers cover. Since "essential" coverage will be decided by bureaucrats, it's likely that many Americans will pay for coverage they don't need and will not be able to get coverage for something they might want.
Many Americans now use Health Savings Accounts (HSA's) to pay for medical goods or services out of pocket. An Obamacare regulation called Medical Loss Ratio means HSA programs will be phased out.
Obamacare uses two new bureaucratic boards to limit patient care. The Independent Payment Advisory Board (IPAB) will decide what care is deemed "necessary" -- and thus paid for -- and that which isn't, which will not. The Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute is supposed to compare treatment options but will actually be another means to reduce choice in treatment.
Does the Ryan Plan destroy Medicare?
New Republican vice presidential hopeful Rep. Paul Ryan has been accused by political opponents of trying to "destroy Medicare."
It seems clear Ryan's Medicare plan will be a major focus of the upcoming presidential campaign.
Should seniors be concerned that a Ryan-like Medicare reform would destroy Medicare? (signed into law by President Lyndon Johnson, pictured)
First off all, any analysis that a reform will "destroy Medicare" should begin with the fact that the current Medicare system is already on course for technical bankruptcy. As the latest Trustees Report notes:
"The HI [Medicare] fund again fails the test of short-range financial adequacy, as projected assets are already below one year's projected expenditures and are expected to continue declining . . . The HI 75-year actuarial imbalance amounts to 36 percent of tax receipts or 26 percent of program cost."
Go here to decide if Ryan's Medicare plan will help or hurt the GOP Ticket?
Ryan's Medicare reform proposal would switch Medicare from a government-run insurance scheme to a plan which would provide premium support for seniors to purchase private health insurance.
Will America's $222 Trillion fiscal gap mean a 40% Social Security cut?
A new study of long term fiscal trends for the federal budget shows that by the time the 78 million-strong Baby Boom generation is fully retired, Social Security benefits may face a 40% cut and federal taxes may have to immediately rise 64%.
Economist Lawrence Kotlikoff (pictured) and journalist Scott Burns have been calculating the "fiscal" gap in federal government spending for some time.
"The fiscal gap is the present value difference between projected future spending and revenue. It captures all government liabilities, whether they are official obligations to service Treasury bonds or unofficial commitments, such as paying for food stamps or buying drones," writes Kotlikoff and Burns.
For example, everyone currently contributing to Social Security and Medicare are creating future liabilities for the federal government. That is, the federal government is taking in "contributions" for these programs and is promising to pay out benefits years into the future.
Normally, these future obligations are accounted for by setting aside the contributions in an investment, which would be available when the promises to pay needed to be redeemed.
However, as most folks know, the Social Security Trust Fund and the Medicare Trust Fund are both paying out more in benefits than they take in. In addition, years of surplus contributions to these funds have been borrowed and spent by Congress.
No Matter How Long You Live, Social Security Now a Certain Loss: First Generation of Retirees Who Are Certain to Lose Money on Social Security
A new report by the Associated Press concludes that all of today's retirees will be the first in the history of Social Security to pay more in taxes than they receive in benefits.
In 1960, retirees could expect to receive more than seven times more in benefits than what they paid in taxes.
As recently as 1985, all retirees could expect to take out as much in benefits as taxes paid.
Today, according to a study by the Urban Institute, a married couple earning average wages for a lifetime paid $598,000 in Social Security taxes and can expect to take out $556,000 in benefits if the man lives to 82 and the woman lives to 85.
Current retirees paid significantly higher payroll taxes than previous generations and right now, as the Baby Boomer generation begins to retire, the number of workers supporting each retiree begins to decrease rapidly.
Today there are about 2.8 workers per beneficiary and the Congressional Budget Office estimates that ratio will drop to 1.9 workers per beneficiary by 2035.
CBO Says Obama's Medicare Cuts Up to $716 Billion
A new Congressional Budget Office (CBO) report hikes the ten-year Medicare cuts contained in Obamacare from around $575 billion to $716 billion.
The CBO report on the effects of H.R. 6079, the Repeal of Obamacare Act, claims wiping Obamacare off the books will increase the deficit by $109 billion from 2013 to 2022.
However, this deficit increase assumes Medicare cuts that are significantly higher than previous reports.
According to the report, current law under Obamacare would result in a $260 billion payment cut for hospital services, $39 billion payment cut for skilled nursing services, $17 billion payment cut for hospice services, $66 billion payment cut for home health services and a $33 billion payment cut for all other services.
These cuts are reductions in what the government will reimburse medical facilities to take on Medicare patients. For the past few years, automatic cuts in these payments have been stalled in what has become known as the "doc fix."
Most Voters Support ObamaCare Repeal
A new poll by Rasmussen Reports shows 55% of likely voters voice support for repeal of ObamaCare. Support for repeal of ObamaCare has remained above 50%, even after the recent Supreme Court decision.
Of those supporting repeal, a significant 41% strongly support it while only 30% remain strongly opposed to repeal.
A major change in public opinion regarding Obama's signature health care law since the Supreme Court ruling has been among voters who believe they will be forced to change their current health care insurance under the new law.
From a low of 31% earlier this month, the number of likely voters who believe ObamaCare will facilitate a need to change their health care insurance has risen to 40%. Losing current health care insurance options could be a key driver of opinion on ObamaCare, since 77% of those polled with current insurance rated their current plan as excellent or good.
Despite the fact it has been over two years since ObamaCare was first enacted, half of the likely voters polled believe ObamaCare will be bad for the country.
Obamacare remains one of the top issues in the minds of likely voters with 67% rating health care as a very important issue -- second only to the economy. Voters are evenly split between Romney and Obama when it comes to trust on the health care insurance issue.
Two new reports show tough times ahead for American workers as ObamaCare comes closer and closer to fruition.
Business consulting firm Deloitte surveyed employers with 50+ employees who are currently offering their employees health care.
They found one in ten are planning to stop offering health care to their employees as a result of ObamaCare. In addition, the survey found one in three would consider dropping benefits if ObamaCare forces them to pay for more extensive coverage then they do now, if the tax on so-called "Cadillac" health plans goes into effect or if the tax for not offering health care would be far less than the premiums they now pay.
The Deloitte survey found a huge divide between large and small businesses. Only 2% of businesses with 1,000 or more employees are considering dropping health care coverage, while 13% of businesses with between 50 and 100 employees said they were planning to drop coverage.
Even for those who will retain health care coverage, the Deloitte survey contains some bad news. About three-fourths of employers contacted said they either have or would be increasing their employees' contribution to health care coverage.
John Goodman (pictured), President and CEO of the National Center for Policy Analysis, delivers more bad news for American workers with his testimony to Congress entitled, The Impact of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act on Job Creators and the Economy.
Goodman starts out by breaking down the cost of the health care mandate for every worker. Citing Congressional Budget Office figures, the average annual cost of a minimum benefit package will be between $4,500 and $5,000 for individuals and $12,000 to $12,500 for a family plan.
This translates to roughly $2.28 an hour for full-time individual workers and $5.89 an hour for family coverage.
The IRS is seeking to fix Congress' ObamaCare mistake.
Former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (pictured) famously said about ObamaCare "We have to pass the bill so you can find out what's in it."
It seems she was absolutely correct.
In their haste to maneuver ObamaCare through Congress, it appears the authors of the health care takeover made a critical mistake.
As you may have read in a previous What's Happening with Seniors Benefits newsletter, the statutory language passed by Congress and signed by the President allows for the premium subsidies and employer mandates to apply only for states that agree to set up a state-run health care exchange.
A comprehensive report by law professor Jonathan Adler and the CATO Institute's Michael Cannon describes how the mistake was made and why the so-called error is not an error, but a result of political choices made by the bill's advocates during the Congressional debate.
ObamaCare's advocates needed to blunt two major lines of attack on their pet legislation. One was the massive cost of their government-run health care takeover and the other was the specter of federal government bureaucrats making health care decisions for millions of Americans.
Adapting state-run health care "exchanges" solved both of these problems.
New Report Shows SSA Death Master File Misses 1.2 Million
A new report by the Office of the Inspector General of the Social Security Administration concluded that approximately 1.2 million deceased beneficiaries did not appear on the Social Security Administration's Death Master File (DMF).
By law, the Social Security Administration is supposed to compile death information from federal, state and local sources to create this master file for federal agencies to use in stopping federal benefits from going to known deceased persons.
Auditors reviewed a sample of 50 from the 1.2 million missing records and found the Social Security Administration has properly terminated Social Security benefits for all 50 names.
However, 11 of the 50 names did not appear on the Death Master file despite the fact that the average beneficiary in the sample had been dead for 16.5 years.
For some of the names, people had not been updated with a married name or with a nickname.
President Obama's signature health care overhaul leaves state governments on the hook for wide swaths of Obama's universal health care promise.
Virginia's Attorney General Ken Cucinelli (pictured), one of the leaders of the legal challenge to ObamaCare, points out how states will feel the pinch of ObamaCare in two main ways in a recent email update.
First, a little less than half of the 34 million uninsured who are supposed to get "free" health care from the government under ObamaCare are scheduled to get their health care from forced increases in state Medicaid enrollments.
Medicaid is the state-level government-run health care provider for the very poor.
Under ObamaCare, states would be forced to add as many as 16 million new enrollees in Medicaid. If a state decided not to expand its Medicaid program, the federal government could withhold every dime of federal support for all Medicaid recipients in that state.
The U.S. Supreme Court ruled withholding current Medicaid funding to force an expansion of the Medicaid program was unconstitutional.