ObamaCare’s Medicare Cuts Now Up to $741 Billion | July 26th, 2012

ObamaCare’s Growing Medicare Cuts Are All Part of Democrats’ “Plan”—and They Think It’s Time to Celebrate

  • The Congressional Budget Office announced this week that ObamaCare’s cuts to Medicare rose to $741 billion over the most recent time frame, and Democrats celebrated the occasion by eating cake.
  • This estimate of ObamaCare’s brutal cuts to Medicare comes before ObamaCare’s board of Medicare-gutting bureaucrats has even taken effect—suggesting the cuts to Medicare could be far worse.
  • These Medicare cuts will prove disastrous for seniors, but Democrats are taking every opportunity to defend them and keep them in place.

The Congressional Budget Office announced this week that ObamaCare’s cuts to Medicare rose to $741 billion over the most recent time frame, and Democrats celebrated the occasion by eating cake:

“HOUSE DEMS EAT CAKE IN CELEBRATION OF MEDICARE,” WHICH THEY MASSIVELY CUT TO PAY FOR OBAMACARE: (Elise Viebeck, “House Dems Eat Cake in Celebration of Medicare,” The Hill, 7/25/2012)

WERE MEDICARE CUTS PART OF THE “PLAN”? OBAMA: “WE TRIED OUR PLAN—AND IT WORKED”: “Just like we’ve tried their plan, we tried our plan — and it worked.  That’s the difference.” (“Remarks by the President at a Campaign Event,” The White House, 7/25/2012)

ARE BILLIONS OF DOLLARS IN MEDICARE CUTS SOMETHING TO CELEBRATE?

CBO: LATEST ESTIMATE FOR OBAMACARE’S MEDICARE CUTS AT $741 BILLION: (“Estimates for the Insurance Coverage Provisions of the Affordable Care Act Updated for the Recent Supreme Court Decision,” Congressional Budget Office, July 2012)

“BURIED DEEP WITHIN THE CBO REPORTS,” NEW FIGURE FOR MEDICARE CUTS: “One interesting number buried deep within the CBO reports: $741 billion. That’s how much the government would save from cutting subsidies for supplemental Medicare insurance, according to the new estimates. But that’s a jump from the original estimate of $500 billion over 10 years.”

“ ‘What that proves, according to Douglas Holtz-Eakin, a former CBO chief who now runs the conservative American Action Forum, is that the agency is acknowledging what Republicans have said all along — that the scorekeeping for the law was always unrealistic.’” (Jonathan Allen and Matt Dobias, “Health Care Law Now Cheaper, Won’t Cover As Many People,” Politico, 7/24/2012)

This estimate of ObamaCare’s brutal cuts to Medicare comes before ObamaCare’s board of Medicare-gutting bureaucrats has even taken effect—suggesting the cuts to Medicare could be far worse:  

OBAMA’S MEDICARE PLAN: EMPOWER “15 SAGES” WITH “THE POWER OF THE PURSE”: “Fifteen members will serve on the Independent Payment Advisory Board, all appointed by the President and confirmed by the Senate. If per capita costs grow by more than GDP plus 0.5%, this board would get more power, including an automatic budget sequester to enforce its rulings. So 15 sages sitting in a room with the power of the purse will evidently find ways to control Medicare spending that no one has ever thought of before and that supposedly won’t harm seniors’ care, even as the largest cohort of the baby boom generation retires and starts to collect benefits.” (Editorial Board, “The Presidential Divider,” The Wall Street Journal, 4/14/2011)

WSJ: OBAMA MEDICARE PLAN IS MEDICARE “RATIONING”, WILL “THROW GRANNY OVER THE CLIFF”: “One place to start is by attacking the Democratic plan to cut Medicare via political rationing. Mr. Ryan’s budget had the virtue of embarrassing President Obama’s spend-more initial budget, and the White House responded by proposing to increase the power of the new Independent Payment Advisory Board (IPAB) to decide what, and how much, Medicare will pay for. The ObamaCare bill goes to great lengths to shelter this 15-member, unelected board from Congressional review, with the goal of letting these bureaucrats throw granny over the cliff if Medicare isn’t reformed. Yet few Americans know anything about IPAB or its rationing intentions.” (Editorial, “The GOP’s New York Spanking,” The Wall Street Journal, 5/26/2011)

FORMER HOUSE DEMOCRAT LEADER DICK GEPHARDT: “UNELECTED AND UNACCOUNTABLE” IPAB WILL “PROPOSE CUTS TO MEDICARE,” WITH “DEVASTATING” CONSEQUENCES: “Under the current law, IPAB will be an unelected and unaccountable group whose sole charge is to reduce Medicare spending based on an arbitrary target growth rate. … Just as important, these cuts are likely to have devastating consequences for the seniors and disabled Americans who are Medicare’s beneficiaries because, while technically forbidden from rationing care, the Board will be able to set payment rates for some treatments so low that no doctor or hospital or other healthcare professional would provide them.” (Dick Gephardt, “Medicare Must Remain a Responsibility of Congress,” The Huffington Post, 6/21/2011)

OBAMACARE CREATED A DEADLINE TO REPEAL ITS MEDICARE-GUTTING BOARD: “Worse, PPACA forbids Congress from repealing IPAB outside of a seven-month window in the year 2017, and even then requires a three-fifths majority in both chambers. A heretofore unreported feature of PPACA dictates that if Congress misses that repeal window, PPACA prohibits Congress from ever altering an IPAB ‘proposal.’ By restricting lawmaking powers of future Congresses, PPACA thus attempts to amend the Constitution by statute.” (Diane Cohen and Michael F. Cannon, “The Independent Payment Advisory Board: PPACA’s Anti-Constitutional and Authoritarian Super-Legislature,” CATO Institute, 6/14/2012)

BILL TO REPEAL IPAB MUST BE INTRODUCED BY FEBRUARY 1, 2017: “(f) JOINT RESOLUTION REQUIRED TO DISCONTINUE THE BOARD.— ‘(1) IN GENERAL.—For purposes of subsection (e)(3)(B), a joint resolution described in this paragraph means only a joint resolution— (A) that is introduced in 2017 by not later than February 1 of such year; (B) which does not have a preamble; (C) the title of which is as follows: ‘Joint resolution approving the discontinuation of the process for consideration and automatic implementation of the annual proposal of the Independent Medicare Advisory Board under section 1899A of the Social Security Act’” (p. 382, H.R. 3590, Accessed 7/2/2012)

OBAMACARE REQUIRES A THREE-FIFTHS VOTE TO ELIMINATE IPAB: ‘‘(F) MAJORITY REQUIRED FOR ADOPTION.—A joint resolution considered under this subsection shall require an affirmative vote of three-fifths of the Members, duly chosen and sworn, for adoption.” (p. 384, H.R. 3590, Accessed 7/2/2012)

THE DEADLINE TO REPEAL IPAB: AUGUST 15, 2017: ‘‘(3) TERMINATION.—If a joint resolution described in paragraph (1) is enacted not later than August 15, 2017.” (p. 384, H.R. 3590, Accessed 7/2/2012)

These Medicare cuts will prove disastrous for seniors, but Democrats are taking every opportunity to defend them and keep them in place:

97% OF HOUSE DEMOCRATS VOTED IN JULY TO PREVENT OBAMACARE REPEAL: (Roll Call 460, Clerk of the U.S. House, 7/11/2012)

90% OF HOUSE DEMS VOTED AGAINST REPEALING IPAB: (Roll Call 126, Clerk of the U.S. House, 3/22/2012)

98% OF HOUSE DEMS VOTED IN JAN 2011 AGAINST REPEALING OBAMACARE: (Roll Call 14, Clerk of the U.S. House, 1/19/2011)

DOCTOR AND PATIENT GROUPS: IPAB’S CUTS “WOULD LEAD TO A REDUCTION IN ACCESS TO CARE”: “The Independent Payment Advisory Board, created under the health care law to help control Medicare costs, lacks flexibility to do much more than cut provider payments that would lead to a reduction in access to care, witnesses told a House Ways and Means panel March 6.” (Ralph Lindeman, “IPAB Would Reduce Access to Care, Witnesses Tell Ways and Means Panel,” Bloomberg, 3/7/2012)

41 DOCTORS’ GROUPS REPRESENTING 400,000 DOCTORS FEAR THAT “15 UNELECTED AND LARGELY UNACCOUNTABLE” BUREAUCRATS WILL MAKE MEDICARE DECISIONS, AND NONE ARE ALLOWED TO BE “PRACTICING PHYSICIANS”: “With the advent of the IPAB, however, the people’s elected representatives will no longer have power over Medicare payment policy.  Instead, these major health policy decisions will rest in the hands of 15 unelected and largely unaccountable individuals.  Even worse, if IPAB fails to report recommendations or never becomes operational, this power will rest solely in the hands of a single individual – the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services. Additionally, fewer than half of the IPAB members can be health care providers, and none are permitted to be practicing physicians or be otherwise employed.” (Letter from Healthcare Stakeholders, House Energy and Commerce Committee, 3/5/2012)

AMERICAN UROLOGICAL ASSOCIATION: DOCTORS WILL “OPT OUT OF THE MEDICARE PROGRAM OR BE DRIVEN OUT OF PRACTICE ALTOGETHER”: “He warned, ‘These cuts could be driven so low that physicians will be forced to limit the number of Medicare beneficiaries they see, opt out of the Medicare program, or be driven out of practice altogether.’” (Ralph Lindeman, “IPAB Would Reduce Access to Care, Witnesses Tell Ways and Means Panel,” Bloomberg, 3/7/2012)

IPAB LINKED TO TRICARE CUTS:

NATIONAL MILITARY VETERANS ALLIANCE REPRESENTING 35 MILITARY ASSOCIATIONS AND 3.5 MILLION MEMBERS CALLS FOR IPAB REPEAL: (Statement of the National Military Veterans Alliance, Letter to House Committee on Ways & Means, 3/6/2012)

GIVEN LINKAGE BETWEEN MEDICARE AND TRICARE, “WE HAVE REAL CONCERNS ABOUT IPAB INDIRECT IMPACT UPON MILITARY RETIREES”: “As you know, almost one third of our nation’s 24 million veterans are over the age of 65, and the vast majority of them live in households in which at least one person receives Medicare benefits.  Thus the impact of any change in Medicare services is felt both immediately and directly by them. Moreover, because Medicare reimbursement rates and coverage determinations are standard measures for some provisions of TRICARE as well as a number of private insurance programs, we have real concerns about the IPAB indirect impact upon military retirees now and particularly in the future as its scope of authority expands.” (Statement of the National Military and Veterans Alliance, Letter to House Committee on Ways & Means, 3/6/2012)

TRICARE’S REIMBURSEMENT RATES TIED TO MEDICARE: “One particular concern is rising fees. Tricare’s reimbursement rates to private caregivers generally are tied to those of Medicare, and many doctors say Medicare’s reimbursement rates already are too low.” (William H. McMichael, “Tricare and Health Reform: What It Could Mean in the Long Run,” The Air Force Times, 3/21/2012)

ObamaCare’s Growing Medicare Cuts Are All Part of Democrats’ “Plan”—and They Think It’s Time to Celebrate

  • The Congressional Budget Office announced this week that ObamaCare’s cuts to Medicare rose to $741 billion over the most recent time frame, and Democrats celebrated the occasion by eating cake.
  • This estimate of ObamaCare’s brutal cuts to Medicare comes before ObamaCare’s board of Medicare-gutting bureaucrats has even taken effect—suggesting the cuts to Medicare could be far worse.
  • These Medicare cuts will prove disastrous for seniors, but Democrats are taking every opportunity to defend them and keep them in place.
The Congressional Budget Office announced this week that ObamaCare’s cuts to Medicare rose to $741 billion over the most recent time frame, and Democrats celebrated the occasion by eating cake: “HOUSE DEMS EAT CAKE IN CELEBRATION OF MEDICARE,” WHICH THEY MASSIVELY CUT TO PAY FOR OBAMACARE: (Elise Viebeck, “House Dems Eat Cake in Celebration of Medicare,” The Hill, 7/25/2012) WERE MEDICARE CUTS PART OF THE “PLAN”? OBAMA: “WE TRIED OUR PLAN—AND IT WORKED”: “Just like we’ve tried their plan, we tried our plan -- and it worked.  That’s the difference.” (“Remarks by the President at a Campaign Event,” The White House, 7/25/2012) ARE BILLIONS OF DOLLARS IN MEDICARE CUTS SOMETHING TO CELEBRATE? CBO: LATEST ESTIMATE FOR OBAMACARE’S MEDICARE CUTS AT $741 BILLION: (“Estimates for the Insurance Coverage Provisions of the Affordable Care Act Updated for the Recent Supreme Court Decision,” Congressional Budget Office, July 2012) “BURIED DEEP WITHIN THE CBO REPORTS,” NEW FIGURE FOR MEDICARE CUTS: “One interesting number buried deep within the CBO reports: $741 billion. That’s how much the government would save from cutting subsidies for supplemental Medicare insurance, according to the new estimates. But that’s a jump from the original estimate of $500 billion over 10 years.” “ ‘What that proves, according to Douglas Holtz-Eakin, a former CBO chief who now runs the conservative American Action Forum, is that the agency is acknowledging what Republicans have said all along — that the scorekeeping for the law was always unrealistic.’” (Jonathan Allen and Matt Dobias, “Health Care Law Now Cheaper, Won’t Cover As Many People,” Politico, 7/24/2012) This estimate of ObamaCare’s brutal cuts to Medicare comes before ObamaCare’s board of Medicare-gutting bureaucrats has even taken effect—suggesting the cuts to Medicare could be far worse:   OBAMA’S MEDICARE PLAN: EMPOWER “15 SAGES” WITH “THE POWER OF THE PURSE”: “Fifteen members will serve on the Independent Payment Advisory Board, all appointed by the President and confirmed by the Senate. If per capita costs grow by more than GDP plus 0.5%, this board would get more power, including an automatic budget sequester to enforce its rulings. So 15 sages sitting in a room with the power of the purse will evidently find ways to control Medicare spending that no one has ever thought of before and that supposedly won't harm seniors' care, even as the largest cohort of the baby boom generation retires and starts to collect benefits.” (Editorial Board, “The Presidential Divider,” The Wall Street Journal, 4/14/2011) WSJ: OBAMA MEDICARE PLAN IS MEDICARE “RATIONING”, WILL “THROW GRANNY OVER THE CLIFF”: “One place to start is by attacking the Democratic plan to cut Medicare via political rationing. Mr. Ryan's budget had the virtue of embarrassing President Obama's spend-more initial budget, and the White House responded by proposing to increase the power of the new Independent Payment Advisory Board (IPAB) to decide what, and how much, Medicare will pay for. The ObamaCare bill goes to great lengths to shelter this 15-member, unelected board from Congressional review, with the goal of letting these bureaucrats throw granny over the cliff if Medicare isn't reformed. Yet few Americans know anything about IPAB or its rationing intentions.” (Editorial, “The GOP’s New York Spanking,” The Wall Street Journal, 5/26/2011) FORMER HOUSE DEMOCRAT LEADER DICK GEPHARDT: "UNELECTED AND UNACCOUNTABLE" IPAB WILL "PROPOSE CUTS TO MEDICARE," WITH "DEVASTATING" CONSEQUENCES: “Under the current law, IPAB will be an unelected and unaccountable group whose sole charge is to reduce Medicare spending based on an arbitrary target growth rate. … Just as important, these cuts are likely to have devastating consequences for the seniors and disabled Americans who are Medicare's beneficiaries because, while technically forbidden from rationing care, the Board will be able to set payment rates for some treatments so low that no doctor or hospital or other healthcare professional would provide them.” (Dick Gephardt, "Medicare Must Remain a Responsibility of Congress," The Huffington Post, 6/21/2011) OBAMACARE CREATED A DEADLINE TO REPEAL ITS MEDICARE-GUTTING BOARD: “Worse, PPACA forbids Congress from repealing IPAB outside of a seven-month window in the year 2017, and even then requires a three-fifths majority in both chambers. A heretofore unreported feature of PPACA dictates that if Congress misses that repeal window, PPACA prohibits Congress from ever altering an IPAB ‘proposal.’ By restricting lawmaking powers of future Congresses, PPACA thus attempts to amend the Constitution by statute.” (Diane Cohen and Michael F. Cannon, “The Independent Payment Advisory Board: PPACA’s Anti-Constitutional and Authoritarian Super-Legislature,” CATO Institute, 6/14/2012) BILL TO REPEAL IPAB MUST BE INTRODUCED BY FEBRUARY 1, 2017: “(f) JOINT RESOLUTION REQUIRED TO DISCONTINUE THE BOARD.— ‘(1) IN GENERAL.—For purposes of subsection (e)(3)(B), a joint resolution described in this paragraph means only a joint resolution— (A) that is introduced in 2017 by not later than February 1 of such year; (B) which does not have a preamble; (C) the title of which is as follows: ‘Joint resolution approving the discontinuation of the process for consideration and automatic implementation of the annual proposal of the Independent Medicare Advisory Board under section 1899A of the Social Security Act’” (p. 382, H.R. 3590, Accessed 7/2/2012) OBAMACARE REQUIRES A THREE-FIFTHS VOTE TO ELIMINATE IPAB: ‘‘(F) MAJORITY REQUIRED FOR ADOPTION.—A joint resolution considered under this subsection shall require an affirmative vote of three-fifths of the Members, duly chosen and sworn, for adoption.” (p. 384, H.R. 3590, Accessed 7/2/2012) THE DEADLINE TO REPEAL IPAB: AUGUST 15, 2017: ‘‘(3) TERMINATION.—If a joint resolution described in paragraph (1) is enacted not later than August 15, 2017.” (p. 384, H.R. 3590, Accessed 7/2/2012) These Medicare cuts will prove disastrous for seniors, but Democrats are taking every opportunity to defend them and keep them in place: 97% OF HOUSE DEMOCRATS VOTED IN JULY TO PREVENT OBAMACARE REPEAL: (Roll Call 460, Clerk of the U.S. House, 7/11/2012) 90% OF HOUSE DEMS VOTED AGAINST REPEALING IPAB: (Roll Call 126, Clerk of the U.S. House, 3/22/2012) 98% OF HOUSE DEMS VOTED IN JAN 2011 AGAINST REPEALING OBAMACARE: (Roll Call 14, Clerk of the U.S. House, 1/19/2011) DOCTOR AND PATIENT GROUPS: IPAB’S CUTS “WOULD LEAD TO A REDUCTION IN ACCESS TO CARE”: “The Independent Payment Advisory Board, created under the health care law to help control Medicare costs, lacks flexibility to do much more than cut provider payments that would lead to a reduction in access to care, witnesses told a House Ways and Means panel March 6.” (Ralph Lindeman, “IPAB Would Reduce Access to Care, Witnesses Tell Ways and Means Panel,” Bloomberg, 3/7/2012) 41 DOCTORS’ GROUPS REPRESENTING 400,000 DOCTORS FEAR THAT “15 UNELECTED AND LARGELY UNACCOUNTABLE” BUREAUCRATS WILL MAKE MEDICARE DECISIONS, AND NONE ARE ALLOWED TO BE “PRACTICING PHYSICIANS”: “With the advent of the IPAB, however, the people’s elected representatives will no longer have power over Medicare payment policy.  Instead, these major health policy decisions will rest in the hands of 15 unelected and largely unaccountable individuals.  Even worse, if IPAB fails to report recommendations or never becomes operational, this power will rest solely in the hands of a single individual - the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services. Additionally, fewer than half of the IPAB members can be health care providers, and none are permitted to be practicing physicians or be otherwise employed.” (Letter from Healthcare Stakeholders, House Energy and Commerce Committee, 3/5/2012) AMERICAN UROLOGICAL ASSOCIATION: DOCTORS WILL “OPT OUT OF THE MEDICARE PROGRAM OR BE DRIVEN OUT OF PRACTICE ALTOGETHER”: “He warned, ‘These cuts could be driven so low that physicians will be forced to limit the number of Medicare beneficiaries they see, opt out of the Medicare program, or be driven out of practice altogether.’” (Ralph Lindeman, “IPAB Would Reduce Access to Care, Witnesses Tell Ways and Means Panel,” Bloomberg, 3/7/2012) IPAB LINKED TO TRICARE CUTS: NATIONAL MILITARY VETERANS ALLIANCE REPRESENTING 35 MILITARY ASSOCIATIONS AND 3.5 MILLION MEMBERS CALLS FOR IPAB REPEAL: (Statement of the National Military Veterans Alliance, Letter to House Committee on Ways & Means, 3/6/2012) GIVEN LINKAGE BETWEEN MEDICARE AND TRICARE, “WE HAVE REAL CONCERNS ABOUT IPAB INDIRECT IMPACT UPON MILITARY RETIREES”: “As you know, almost one third of our nation's 24 million veterans are over the age of 65, and the vast majority of them live in households in which at least one person receives Medicare benefits.  Thus the impact of any change in Medicare services is felt both immediately and directly by them. Moreover, because Medicare reimbursement rates and coverage determinations are standard measures for some provisions of TRICARE as well as a number of private insurance programs, we have real concerns about the IPAB indirect impact upon military retirees now and particularly in the future as its scope of authority expands.” (Statement of the National Military and Veterans Alliance, Letter to House Committee on Ways & Means, 3/6/2012) TRICARE’S REIMBURSEMENT RATES TIED TO MEDICARE: “One particular concern is rising fees. Tricare’s reimbursement rates to private caregivers generally are tied to those of Medicare, and many doctors say Medicare’s reimbursement rates already are too low.” (William H. McMichael, “Tricare and Health Reform: What It Could Mean in the Long Run,” The Air Force Times, 3/21/2012)