Health Care Wrangling
The U.S. House of Representatives will most likely try to repeal the Obama Health care program this week, though that’s where the effort will stop because of the political realities (Democrats control the Senate) while on another front, we are now up to 26 states that are suing the Federal Government over the imposition of the Obama program.
Advocates explained to the ProJo why repeal isn’t a good idea, basing their argument on the benefits accrued by filtering your tax dollars up through the beltway bureaucracy and back down to the state level so that several programs can be implemented by local bureaucrats to help manage the plethora of benefits forthcoming from the aforementioned feds. Promise!
Meanwhile, the impact of the health care reform so far has resulted in a winnowing of “choice.” Some examples, as explained by Sally Pipes: 1) the construction of at least 45 physician-owned hospitals has been halted because they didn’t open in time to qualify for Medicare certification; 2) doctors are planning on dropping patient care or limiting the amount of patients they treat who are Medicare/Medicaid because they can’t afford to treat them; 3) Rules requiring small plans to spend 80% of premiums on medical claims will push many out of existence (those efficiencies are tough to reach in smaller plans–economies of scale, etc.). So smaller plans that may be able to compete against the giants in certain sectors will be pushed out.
Then Pipes explains the impact of the new over-the-counter drug restrictions, which–I can tell you–has been much discussed at my workplace and home:
Other measures kicking in are petty — but punitive. For example, people can no longer use tax-free Health Savings Accounts on basic over-the-counter drugs. Instead, they must pay for a doctor’s appointment — and then get a prescription for a pricier pharmacist-dispensed drug.
Consider the case of Claritin, an allergy medication that recently was approved for OTC use. A report from the National Center for Policy Analysis found that longtime users of the drug saw their daily costs fall 80 percent, from about $2.50 to just 50 cents. ObamaCare reverses this trend by encouraging people to opt for higher-priced prescription drugs when a cheaper OTC medication would work just as well.
Pipes exaggerates a bit–for my plan, a doctor’s note explaining that an OTC drug is called for is adequate justification to be able to use an HSA to pay for it–but that still requires a doctor visit. Just more hassle, more red-tape and more bureaucracy all to make things…better?