President Obama kicked off the start of a five year $125 million campaign to sell health care reform. I hope for his sake the campaign goes better than the implementation of the new law. Here’s what the President promised seniors this week.
“Your guaranteed Medicare benefits that you’ve earned will not change, regardless of whether you receive them through Medicare or Medicare Advantage.
Medicare will continue to cover your costs the way it always has.
If you like your doctor, you can keep your doctor. ”
Here are the facts behind the salesmanship…
1. Temporary high risk insurance pools.
Obamacare provides $5 billion over five years to subsidize insurance for 4 million people priced out of the traditional insurance market because of chronic illness or other serious medical conditions.
There is only enough money to cover 200,000 for 3.5 years.
2. The CLASS Act
The Community Living Assistance Services and Supports (CLASS) Act — would be funded by premiums. It is supposed to start collecting premiums in 2011 and beginning in 2013, would pay enrollees $50 or more per day if they became too disabled to perform normal daily activities like eating and bathing.
The start date has been pushed back. Premiums and benefits have not yet been established. Meanwhile, the CMS actuary has predicted would need to start at about $123 per month, are not indexed to inflation do not reward people for staying healthy are likely to rise.
3. $250 Rebate Checks for Seniors Enrolled In The Medicare Drug Plan
A rebate bait and switch. Checks being mailed out Thursday. It is one time payment limited to those who are paying for Medicare drugs out of pocket during the coverage gap. Starting in 2011, companies must start paying 50 percent of the price of it’s drugs. Previously, Medicare would pay half the price of a drug without a rebate plan in place. Now, in a change designed to save money by restricting access, Medicare will not cover any drugs without agreements, even if they are essential to the health of beneficiaries for 2011.
4. Choice of health plans
As many as 1 million people will lose their coverage under Obamacare.
Under the provision, insurance companies will no longer be able to apply broad annual caps on the amount of money they pay out on health policies. Employer groups say the ban could essentially wipe out a niche insurance market that many part-time workers and retail and restaurant employees have come to rely on.
The ban on annual caps are already causing many plans that offer high-deductible plans with health savings accounts to fold.
5. Choice of Doctors and Hospitals
“Two years after a survey found nearly half of Texas doctors weren’t taking some new Medicare patients, new data shows 100 to 200 a year are now ending all involvement with the program. Before 2007, the number of doctors opting out averaged less than a handful a year.” Meanwhile, Massachusetts health insurers say they want to freeze or slash payments to some hospitals and large physician groups this year…this even as a 2008 survey of Bay State docs showed that slightly more than half of medical residents are leaving Massachusetts to continue their careers. Also, recruitment time to fill open jobs is lengthening.