Saturday, March 17, 2012

Barletta and GOP Distorts CBO Report

Congressman Lou Barletta's campaign sent this out yesterday:

"Remember when the President promised that Obamacare would reduce health care costs? It was one of his key selling points. Earlier this week the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office issued a report that the cost of Obamacare over the next decade is a staggering $1.76 trillion. That’s almost double the $900 billion price tag President Obama promised the American people."

TMB: The Congressional Budget Office released a new report this morning on the costs of the Affordable Care Act, and ever since, Fox News, congressional Republicans, the conservative Washington Times, and a variety of conservative blogs have been pretty worked up about the CBO findings.
They may want to take another look at it...

TPM: CBO’s actual revised estimate is that the “gross costs of the coverage provisions,” — the money used to provide people Medicaid or private insurance — has risen by about $50 billion over the 2012-2021 period since its previous estimate, from $1.445 trillion to $1.496 trillion. That’s the only relevant change to spending projections in the report.

So where are conservatives getting the idea that the cost of the law doubled? When it passed in 2010, CBO said its 10-year outlays would be about $940 billion. But because the law isn’t set to be fully implemented until 2014, when the coverage expansion takes effect, that initial estimate included several years in which the law cost very little. Now that it’s 2012, CBO’s 10-year outlook captures more years during which the law will be in full effect. The law’s price tag appears higher, but its costs in no way doubled.

WONKBLOG: This analysis shows the net cost of the coverage provisions will be about $50 billion less than previously estimated. That implies the law will cut more, not less, from the deficit than previous estimates suggested. In other words, this estimate says the bill is more, not less, fiscally responsible than was previously reported.
One other thing that’s confused some people is that this estimate is looking at a different timeframe than the original estimates. The CBO’s first pass at the bill looked at 2010-2019. But years have passed, and so now they’re looking at 2012-2021. That means they have two fewer years of implementation, when the bill costs almost nothing, and two more years of operation, when it costs substantially more.

Republicans said that they wanted to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act. I see that they are big on repeal but I haven't heard much about the replace part.

More from Lou: And make no mistake, I am on the record opposing it. I have fought it at every turn. I supported a full repeal as well as systematically taking it apart piece by piece. I even signed on to an “amicus brief” against Obamacare which the Supreme Court is scheduled to hear in the coming weeks.

The White House sent an email reminding me of some the benefits of the new law and I have to ask Lou if he really want's to kick young adults off their parents health insurance? Should seniors have to pay more for prescription drugs? Is holding Insurance companies feet to the fire socialism? Does he want to outlaw coverage for pre-existing conditions or let insurance companies set a lifetime limit of coverage that would result in a death sentence for some people?

Health reform is already making a difference for the people of Pennsylvania by:

Providing new coverage options for young adults
Health plans are now required to allow parents to keep their children under age 26 without job-based coverage on their family’s coverage, and, thanks to this provision, 2.5 million young people have gained coverage nationwide. As of June 2011, 64,798 young adults in Pennsylvania gained insurance coverage as a result of the new health care law.

Making prescription drugs affordable for seniors
Thanks to the new health care law, 247,686 people with Medicare in Pennsylvania received a $250 rebate to help cover the cost of their prescription drugs when they hit the donut hole in 2010. In 2011, 235,820 people with Medicare received a 50 percent discount on their covered brand-name prescription drugs when they hit the donut hole. This discount resulted in an average savings of $662 per person, and a total savings of $156,108,903 in Pennsylvania. By 2020, the law will close the donut hole.

Covering preventive services with no deductible or co-pay
In 2011, 1,509,076 people with Medicare in Pennsylvania received free preventive services – such as mammograms and colonoscopies – or a free annual wellness visit with their doctor. And 54 million Americans with private health insurance gained preventive service coverage with no cost-sharing, including 236,3000 in Pennsylvania.

Providing better value for your premium dollar through the 80/20 Rule
Under the new health care law, insurance companies must provide consumers greater value by spending generally at least 80 percent of premium dollars on health care and quality improvements instead of overhead, executive salaries or marketing. If they don’t, they must provide consumers a rebate or reduce premiums. This means that 3,421,000 Pennsylvania residents with private insurance coverage will receive greater value for their premium dollars.

Scrutinizing unreasonable premium increases
In every State and for the first time under Federal law, insurance companies are required to publicly justify their actions if they want to raise rates by 10 percent or more. Pennsylvania has received $5.3 million under the new law to help fight unreasonable premium increases.

Removing lifetime limits on health benefits
The law bans insurance companies from imposing lifetime dollar limits on health benefits – freeing cancer patients and individuals suffering from other chronic diseases from having to worry about going without treatment because of their lifetime limits. Already, 4,582,000 residents, including 1,769,000 women and 1,136,000 children, are free from worrying about lifetime limits on coverage. The law also restricts the use of annual limits and bans them completely in 2014.

Creating new coverage options for individuals with pre-existing conditions
As of the end of 2011, 4,567 previously uninsured residents of Pennsylvania who were locked out of the coverage system because of a pre-existing condition are now insured through a new Pre-Existing Condition Insurance Plan that was created under the new health reform law. To learn more about the plan available in Pennsylvania, check here.

I have asked Democratic challengers Gene Stilp and Bill Vinsko for their thoughts on the Affordable Care Act and will publish them when I get them.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Barletta and his fellow Republicans just can't stand that President Obama accomplished something that no other president before him could - reform health care to the benefit of millions of Americans. And let's not forget President Obama saved the country from depression, took out Bin Laden, brought the American auto industry back to life, and lowered taxes on the middle class. All the Republicans did was pick on the gays, reverse women's rights, defended tax cuts for millionaires, and whine about health care - all while failing miserably at creating jobs for the middle class. Go home Lou.