Not that this is going to surprise anyone, but…
WASHINGTON (AP) — Two of the central promises of President Barack Obama's health care overhaul law are unlikely to be fulfilled, Medicare's independent economic expert told Congress on Wednesday.
The landmark legislation probably won't hold costs down, and it won't let everybody keep their current health insurance if they like it, Chief Actuary Richard Foster told the House Budget Committee. His office is responsible for independent long-range cost estimates.
CMS first announced this fact in April 2010, just weeks after Obamacare had passed. As soon as 2014 rolls around and the new coverage programs kick in, they gobble up all of the savings from Medicare cuts and other revenue sources, such as premiums for the new CLASS home-care benefit. The net additional government health care costs, CMS said at the time, come to $278 billion between 2014 (when Obamacare's benefits are scheduled to begin) and 2019.
Of course, that understates the case, because as Foster noted then, and as he noted again today, many of the Medicare cuts are unlikely to last. If enacted, he estimated last year, they would push 15 percent of providers out of business, probably forcing the government to restore at least part of the cuts and increase health care spending even further.
Meanwhile, as 7 million senior citizens lose their private Medicare Advantage plans, the AARP — a big supporter of Obamacare — will be waiting with open arms to sell them its Medigap supplementary insurance plans:
Medicare recipients who lose private coverage would still be guaranteed coverage in the traditional program, but they would likely have to take out a supplementary insurance plan for gaps in their coverage.