Bloggers examine a number of potential consequences of the new health overhaul law.
Katherine Hobson of The Wall Street Journal’s Health Blog looks at potential financial losses to pharmaceutical companies from changes in the Medicaid program under health reform: “But analysts say that not all pharma companies will be equally affected; product mix matters a lot. Lilly didn’t break out the financial impact of different provisions in health-care changes, but did cite higher discounts to Medicaid as one factor. The company’s anti-psychotic Zyprexa and its diabetes product portfolio give it fairly broad exposure to Medicaid.”
In another edition of “Side Effects of ObamaCare,” Heritage’s Kathryn Nix says doctors are frustrated and demoralized by the higher penalties for not complying with regulations in the Medicare program. So much so, in fact, “There is the very real prospect of many doctors simply giving up or refusing to practice under the government’s avalanche of new rules and regulations,” Nix writes. And she explains how the government’s reach is only going to grow: “Under Obamacare, this sort of bureaucratic intervention is no longer limited to Medicare. The new law creates an Institute for Comparative Effectiveness Research, which will define best practices using population-based research. This will be used to create government-approved standards for the practice of medicine—deviant physicians will pay a penalty for failure to comply.”
Economix’s Uwe Reinhardt looks at write-offs from large corporations reflecting the end of a deduction for retiree health benefits and explains, “If we take, say, 10 to 20 years as the period for these extra future annual cash payments to the I.R.S., then for AT&T they might fall somewhere between $50 million and $100 million per year. In 2007, AT&T’s net after-tax income was about $12 billion. In 2009 it was $12.5 billion. A rough estimate therefore is that the added annual taxes AT&T must pay as a result of the health care bill are likely to run somewhere between 0.4 percent and 0.8 percent of net income — less than 1 percentage point. They might even run less than 0.4 percent.”
Hot Air’s Ed Morrissey points to a New York Times article on the individual insurance market in New York state–which is under stricter constraints than most– and lashes out at the New York Times coverage of the situation during hte health care overhaul debate:
If nothing else, this proves a couple of points that critics have made all along. The mandates are nothing more than a way to get the young to create a proxy welfare state by forcing them into a usurious insurance model. It does nothing to reduce actual costs, and in fact makes cost increases both more likely and more amplified.
Finally, this problem has unfolded in New York for years. The premium problem in individual markets — the very kind that ObamaCare requires — were well known to the New York Times. They had almost a year to report this during the health-care debate before a vote was taken. Instead, they report it almost a month after Congress passed the bill, and stuck it in the Regional section where national readers might have missed it. Shameful.
Insure Blog’s Bob Vineyard looks at the requirements to participate in a new high risk pool set up by the health care law and finds they come up short because participants must be uninsured before joining: ” The risk pool won’t help those in high cost, guaranteed issue states like NY, ME and MA (home of Romneycare). But how about those who reside in the 34 states with risk pools that are paying up to 200% of the standard rate for risk pool coverage? Like the Soup Nazi in Seinfeld, no Obamapool for you. So by doing the responsible thing and paying high health insurance premiums through an existing risk pool, you will be denied access while those who stayed out of a risk pool will be accepted.”
Wonk Room’s Igor Volsky reviews recent comments from former New York Gov. George Pataki on health reform, who appears to be back-tracking on previous claims that the Massachusetts individual mandate law is unconstitutional. Pataki launched a new group, Revere America, which “will be going to be in all 50 states to mobilize the grassroots and ‘get over a million e-mail addresses of people who would support us in working to repeal ObamaCare and work with us to replace it with true health care reform.’”
Critical Condition’s James Capretta predicts how Democrats might try to close the federal budget gap in the next few years. Capretta writes: Look at the recently enacted health-care bill. It includes large cuts in Medicare’s payments to hospitals, nursing homes, and others. These cuts aren’t calibrated based on quality or efficiency. They are across-the-board cuts hitting every service provider. And the bill also stands up a new independent board that is charged with essentially enforcing a cap on overall Medicare spending beginning in 2015. But the only changes in Medicare the board can recommend to stay within the cap are more reductions in provider-payment rates. The board can’t touch the Medicare benefit, much less propose a [Congressman Paul] Ryan-style move toward more choice and market competition. No, the only option is more and deeper price controls.”
And a lot of bloggers are buzzing about political journalist’s Marc Ambinder’s public and personal piece in the Atlantic this month where he writes about having bariatric surgery and the obestiy epidemic in the United States.