Monday, December 9, 2013
From: Gary L. Bauer
The Obamacaid Time Bomb
You might have noticed that the liberal media are peddling a new Obamacare narrative: the Obamacare website, healthcare.gov, is up and working and getting better every day. But the real problem with Obamacare is not that the website didn’t work but rather that the program to which the site is a portal is fundamentally flawed.
Yes, more people are enrolling, but most of them, it turns out, are signing up for Medicaid, the joint state-federal safety net intended for the poor. According to an opinion piece in the New York Post by Michael Tanner, of the 1.6 million people who have enrolled in Obamacare since October 1st, nearly 1.5 million of them signed up for Medicaid.
All these new Medicaid enrollees could end up bankrupting both federal and state budgets. Consider:
- Medicaid is already among the most expensive federal programs. And Obamacare will only add to Medicaid spending. The Congressional Budget Office projects that Medicaid spending will rise more than 100 percent over the next decade. Obamacare is a big part of the reason why.
- Medicaid’s expansion is taking its toll on doctors, too. Many are going “on strike.” Seventy percent of California doctors refuse to take part in the state’s Obamacare health insurance exchange, according to a recent study.The Golden State offers its doctors the lowest government reimbursement rate in the country. In September, insurance companies announced that they’d peg rates to California’s Medicaid plan, called Medi-Cal. As one doctor put it, “We need some recognition that we’re doing a service to the community. But we can’t do it for free. And we can’t do it at a loss. No other business would do that.”
- It’s even worse at the state level, where Medicaid is most states’ largest expense. Under Obamacare, the federal government is supposed to pay for the cost of new Medicaid patients for the first three years and 90 percent thereafter. But that could very well change, and states could soon be footing most of the bill.
- Perhaps worst of all, as Tanner points out, poor people on Medicaid may not have superior health outcomes to those who don’t have any insurance. Earlier this year, a randomized, controlled trial in Oregon concluded that the program generates no measureable improvement in health compared to being uninsured. Some studies even show that Medicaid patients receive worse care than the uninsured. The result is that many Medicaid patients simply show up to the emergency room when they have a problem. This is the costliest outcome of all.
As Tanner concludes, “…If Obamacare really does lead to a massive expansion of [Medicaid], that’s bad news for taxpayers, providers and patients.”
The Collapse Of Marriage
New research out of Washington State shows that 17 percent of marriages there over the past year were to same-sex couples.
There are a number of reasons that help explain why. LGBT Americans, though only about three percent of the U.S. population, make up nearly one in five marriages in the Evergreen State. Certainly there was probably a lot of pent-up demand. Also, many same-sex couples from states where gay nuptials are illegal traveled to Washington to tie the knot. (According to the state’s estimates, a quarter of same-sex marriages involved residents of other states).
But I imagine it’s also a comment on the collapse of traditional marriage. It is well established that the traditional marriage rate is at a historic low.
Sadly, as heterosexual men and women abandon the institution of marriage, more and more gay couples are filling the void. It’s important to remember: the best way to defend traditional marriage is for men and women with traditional values to enter into, and sustain, strong marriages.
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