Because I think Obama has health care right, the economy right, Iraq and Afghanistan right, and for a number of other reasons, I do support him for President.
On Nov. 2, the Congressional Budget Office estimated what the plans will likely cost. An individual earning $44,000 before taxes who purchases his own insurance will have to pay a $5,300 premium and an estimated $2,000 in out-of-pocket expenses, for a total of $7,300 a year, which is 17% of his pre-tax income. A family earning $102,100 a year before taxes will have to pay a $15,000 premium plus an estimated $5,300 out-of-pocket, for a $20,300 total, or 20% of its pre-tax income.
In addition to reducing future Medicare funding by an estimated $500 billion, the bill fundamentally changes how Medicare pays doctors and hospitals, permitting the government to dictate treatment decisions.
The medical home is this decade's version of HMO-restrictions on care. A primary-care provider manages access to costly specialists and diagnostic tests for a flat monthly fee. The bill specifies that patients may have to settle for a nurse practitioner rather than a physician as the primary-care provider. Medical homes begin with demonstration projects, but the HHS secretary is authorized to "disseminate this approach rapidly on a national basis."
A December 2008 Congressional Budget Office report noted that "medical homes" were likely to resemble the unpopular gatekeepers of 20 years ago if cost control was a priority.
Sec. 1114 (pp. 391-393) replaces physicians with physician assistants in overseeing care for hospice patients.
Sec. 1161 (pp. 520-545) cuts payments to Medicare Advantage plans (used by 20% of seniors). Advantage plans have warned this will result in reductions in optional benefits such as vision and dental care.