Friday, May 14, 2010

things that matter

Side Effects: IRS Could Eat Your Refund

Obamacare requires all individuals to carry health insurance for themselves and their families. Those who don’t will have to pay a penalty. And the IRS is the agency charged with making sure the uninsured pony up.

Steven T. Miller, IRS Deputy Commissioner for Services and Enforcement, explained that, though “The Internal Revenue Service won’t audit you to make sure you have purchased health insurance under provisions of the new health-care law…it may withhold your tax refund if you can’t demonstrate that you are insured.”

First, there is the unconstitutionality of the government requiring people to buy anything, even if some think it is 'for their own good'. Now, making the IRS the ones who make sure you have it? Yeah, that's not abuses of power waiting to happen.

Side Effects: It’s Official- Higher Health Care Costs

Medicare Savings (if they occur) Mean Bad News for Seniors. Medicare hospital payments will grow at a slower rate than the cost of providing services, such that “… providers for whom Medicare constitutes a substantive portion of their business could find it difficult to remain profitable and, absent legislative intervention [think doc fix], might end their participation in the program (possibly jeopardizing access to care for beneficiaries)” (p.10). As far as changes for Medicare Advantage enrollees, CMS reports that “new provisions will generally reduce MA rebates to plans and thereby result in less generous benefit packages … in 2017 … enrollment in MA plans will be lower by about 50 percent …” (p.11).

•Bending the Spending Curve UP? CMS reports that under new law, overall national health expenditures will increase by $311 billion. This is the net result of increases in coverage and decreased spending from reductions to Medicare and due to the excise tax on Cadillac insurance plans. Expect this figure to rise if Congress indefinitely postpones unsustainable Medicare cuts (again, think doc fix) and yields to political pressure to ax the Cadillac tax, both of which will likely happen. Comparative Effectiveness may have a small effect on reducing the growth of health care costs, but, writes CMS, “We show a negligible financial impact over the next 10 years for the other provisions intended to help control future health care cost growth” (p.13).

And more, if you wish to inquire further.

side effects

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