As has been shown here, and here, and here, Obamacare and Sen. Amy Klobuchar are joined at the hip. It gets worse. Klobuchar is also neck deep in the burglary of the Medicare Trust Fund to pay for Obamacare. She didn’t just vote for the Medicare trust to be looted, she helped create the system to do so. For those who think Klobuchar is a nice, moderate centrist with bipartisan intentions, the robbing of Medicare should change that opinion. First, the situation at hand.
The Obama administration and the Democratic Party were delighted when GOP presumptive nominee Mitt Romney picked Rep Paul Ryan as his running mate. They immediately started caterwauling about the Ryan plan to save Medicare would push granny over a cliff. They ranted and raved about how Ryan’s plan would end Medicare as we know it. Florida was gone. Seniors would revolt. The air was filled with the scent of progressive roses.
Then we were reminded of how Obamacare transfers hundreds of billions from Medicare to pay for Obamacare. Obama’s own campaign bragged about stealing over $700 billion from Medicare. The worm began to turn. Here’s why this Medicare theft matters.
The Medicare program was set up as an insurance program for seniors and the disabled and supported by payroll taxes and premiums specifically collected for this future coverage. It’s a program wholly dedicated to this purpose and it was promised to be ONLY used for its enrollees. But, it’s a pot of money and when Obama and the Democratic Party saw this, they realized it would be a great way to fund their disjointed, enormous health care scheme. The Democrats agreed to raid the fund and Obama was so committed to this betrayal of seniors he said this to ABC News’ Jake Tapper:
“TAPPER: One of the concerns about health care and how you pay for it — one third of the funding comes from cuts to Medicare.
PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: “Right.
TAPPER: A lot of times, as you know, what happens in Congress is somebody will do something bold and then Congress, close to election season, will undo it.
TAPPER: You saw that with the ‘doc fix.’
TAPPER: Are you willing to pledge that whatever cuts in Medicare are being made to fund health insurance, one third of it, that you will veto anything that tries to undo that?
OBAMA: Yes. I actually have said that it is important for us to make sure this thing is deficit neutral, without tricks. I said I wouldn’t sign a bill that didn’t meet that criteria.”
Frankly speaking, Obamacare is funded by siphoning off these Medicare funds for his experiment. Just how much are we talking? Remember, these are funds used to subsidize pacemakers and hip replacements for seniors. The amount ripped off from the Medicare trust fund:
“That $716 billion figure is one you’ll probably be hearing a lot about during this election cycle. It’s worth understanding where it comes from and what the spending reductions mean for the Medicare program.
First, where it comes from. On July 24, the Congressional Budget Office sent a letter to House Speaker John Boehner, detailing the budget impact of repealing the Affordable Care Act. If Congress overturned the law, “spending for Medicare would increase by an estimated $716 billion over that 2013–2022 period.”
You’d think transfers of money from a dedicated fund like Medicare to Obamacare would be seen as foolhardy and reckless. But most Democrats are arguing defunding hospital payments and provider reimbursement is a good thing. In fact, Klobuchar is crowing that stealing from the Medicarx fund to give to an expensive new entitlement is “responsible.”
Klobuchar’s own website says this about her involvement:
“Making health care more affordable. I authored legislation creating a "value index" for Medicare reimbursement rates. The value index, which was included in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, will help control costs by rewarding the value of care instead of the volume of services. It will also strengthen the safety net of Medicare by ensuring that funds are there to pay for our seniors' health care. Finally, this value index will help ensure that Minnesota and other states that deliver high-quality, efficient care are rewarded for this care, not punished.”
Klobuchar wasn’t alone in helping defund Medicare. She was joined by her Democratic colleagues from Minnesota and the president. Her senior health care financing plot did become law. We find the White House considers Klobuchar’s “value index” as part of Obamacare.
“Two of the biggest legislative priorities for Minnesota Democrats like Amy Klobuchar, Al Franken, Betty McCollum and Tim Walz aren't anywhere to be found in the summary text of the White House health care plan released this morning, an omission that caused quite a few jitters on Capitol Hill. However, administration officials confirmed this afternoon that both provisions are indeed included in President Obama's plan.
Linda Douglass, director of communications for the White House Office of Health Reform, said in a media conference call this morning that the Senate’s health care plan was the basis of the administration’s plan. Officials later said anything from the Senate’s plan not specifically addressed in the 11-page summary should be assumed to be included.”
So why does the Minnesota delegation, led by Klobuchar, want to take our dedicated Medicare funds from some providers? Since the trust fund is supposed to support senior and disabled health care, why this plan?
“Medicare payment rates are based on a mix of factors, including regional differences in the cost of living. Doctors and hospitals across the country have argued that the system underpays them for their services, but those in the Midwest, Mountain West and Northwest have been particularly aggrieved.
Hospitals in those regions perform well in oft-cited rankings by Dartmouth College researchers, which measure per-patient Medicare spending. And many of those hospitals also rank high in the quality of their care, suggesting it is possible to restrain the volume of medical procedures without affecting care.”
The argument is some regions have higher costs than others. Some health care facilities use different billing methods than others. By limiting funds paid to the more expensive regions, Klobuchar, Franken, Betty! and Walz are hoping to make the system more “fair.” It just isn’t “fair” seniors in Florida and Arizona get more funds than seniors in Minnesota or Washington state.
But wouldn’t cutting payments to hospitals and providers injure those entities?
“Of the $716 billion in cuts, $415 billion come in the form of “updates to fee-for-service payment rates,” a euphemism for reducing Medicare’s payments to doctors and hospitals. But what happens when you reduce payments to doctors? Doctors stop being willing to see Medicare patients. And if you can’t actually get a doctor’s appointment, what does it really matter what your insurance plan covers on paper?”
Of course what would happen is a shrinking of the health care industry at the same time our population needs more health care. Fewer dollars would flow into the system and it would have this effect.
“The Obama administration’s own Medicare actuary, Richard Foster, has explained that the Obamacare Medicare cuts could make unprofitable 15 percent of hospitals serving Medicare patients. “It is doubtful that many [hospitals and other health care providers] will be able to improve their own productivity to the degree” necessary to accommodate the cuts, Foster has written. “Thus, providers for whom Medicare constitutes a substantial portion of their business could find it difficult to remain profitable, and, absent legislative intervention, might end their participation in the program (possibly jeopardizing care for beneficiaries. [Our] simulations…suggest that roughly 15 percent of [hospitalization] providers would become unprofitable within the 10-year projection as a result of the [spending cuts].”
Essentially, this Medicare “fix” would bankrupt or close some 15 percent of the health care facilities in this nation. It would cause the health care industry to shrink which would give people fewer choices for doctors and hospitals. It would make our health care system smaller at a time when the Baby Boomer generation is about to enter into it. These “savings” would have a disparate impact on areas where the industry is already struggling, for example rural areas. Fewer hospitals, fewer doctors, and less available care would follow.
All this meddling just to make it more “fair.” But why? It just doesn’t seem to make sense. To explore that question, we must look to what these funds will be used for.
Let’s pretend Klobuchar and her cronies from the Minnesota delegation are right. Let’s say these co-conspirators have a point. Our next question should be; why take the money out of the Medicare Trust Fund and transfer it to Obamacare? Why didn’t they make this Medicare “fix” and just leave the so-called savings in the fund dedicated to it?
My next post will explain that. If you are angered by this Democratic Party raid on the Medicare Trust Fund, get ready to “see red” when you hear what they want to spend this money on. It’s almost too appalling to be true. But, as you will see, it’s coming straight from Klobuchar’s own mouth.
Note* While writing every word in this post, I thought about my parents, my aunts and uncles, my grandmother, my cousins, and friends who use Medicare and rely on it. They have planned their retiring years around its promises. They’ve paid into it for fifty years. They’ve been told it would be there for them. Seeing Klobuchar, Franken, Betty! and Walz’s scheme to steal this money for their own experiments infuriates me. If it makes you as mad, please send to your family and friends. These people need to pay the political price for their actions.