Friday, May 14, 2010

Potential Discretionary Costs of Implementing the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA)

Obama spins it again. When will this less than presidential guy start to be honest with the American people?

The CBO advised a few days ago that ObamaCare (PPACA) would cost taxpayers and additional $115 billion, putting the bill over $1 trillion dollars (and counting). Obama and his administration immediately advised the American people, through a series of press releases and television news programs, that he would veto any funding bills for those portions of the bill if necessary. Not so fast though, according to the CBO, most of that $115 billion are for ongoing programs that are already being funded. Obama and Congress are not likely to stop funding these portions of the bill since they are already ongoing and some of the appear to be legitimately required budget items. Does Obama think the American people are stupid? When will he stop patronizing the public? He is being disingenuous when he tells the American people he will veto these portion of the bill.

The CBO states in their document, "Additional Information on the Potential Discretionary Costs of Implementing the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA)," the following:

The potential discretionary costs identified in both CBO’s earlier analysis and the letters provided on May 11 include many items whose funding would be a continuation of recent funding levels for health-related programs or that were previously authorized and that PPACA would authorize for future years. Some of those items include:

• Section 3129 – Extension of Medicare rural hospital flexibility program ($0.1 billion over the 2010–2019 period)

• Section 5207 – Funding for the National Health Service Corp ($9.1 billion over the 2010–2019 period)

• Section 5312 – Funding for Parts B-D of Title VIII of the Public Health Service Act (relating to nursing workforce development) ($2.7 billion over the 2010–2019 period)

• Section 5401 – Centers of Excellence ($0.5 billion over the 2010–2019 period)

• Section 5402 – Scholarships, loans and educational assistance relating to students from disadvantaged backgrounds ($0.6 billion over the 2010–2019 period)

• Section 5601 – Federally qualified health center grants ($33.6 billion over the 2010–2019 period)

• Section 5603 – Wakefield emergency medical services program ($0.1 billion over the 2010–2019 period)

• Section 10221 – Indian health improvement act ($39.2 billion over the 2010–2019 period)

• Section 10412 -- Automated defibrillation ($0.25 billion over the 2010–2019 period)

CBO estimates that the amounts authorized for these items exceed $86 billion over the 10-year period (out of the roughly $105 billion total shown in the table that was provided along with the May 11 letter). Thus, CBO’s discretionary baseline, which assumes that 2010 appropriations are extended with adjustments for anticipated inflation, already accounts for much of the potential discretionary spending under PPACA.

In addition, there are a number of other items that could overlap some or even by a considerable amount with current law activities assumed in CBO’s baseline.

How much more will the health care take-over cost the American people? As the CBO continues to refine their score of the bill, I'm sure we will hear more on the subject of 'additional costs.'

The most important question now is when will it end, November 2012 perhaps? One could only be hopeful.

Sunday, May 9, 2010


This article, "Gates: Spending 'gusher' now off," in Politico, is a must read; specifically, on page 2, Secretary Gates talks about cutting TRICARE costs by increasing premiums and co-pays for military members:

The military’s health care system, called TRICARE, is another area that Gates said needs cutting.

“Leaving aside the sacred obligation we have to America’s wounded warriors, health-care costs are eating the Defense Department alive, rising from $19 billion a decade ago to roughly $50 billion – about the entire foreign affairs and assistance budget of the State Department,” Gates said in his speech.

It’s a perennial fight between the Pentagon and Congress, which loathes cutting such benefits – particularly for soldiers who have been fighting the nation’s wars for nearly nine years, and one the Pentagon tends to lose. But Gates wants Congress to back his request to raise the premium and co-pay.

“The increase we’re talking about would be laughable to those who have non-governmental health care,” he told reporters, adding that a family of four under TRICARE pays $1,200, compared with what the same family would pay under the federal employee health insurance program: $3,200.

What Gates ignores is the fact that the military people (especially the enlisted) don’t make as much as federal employees in comparable jobs, perhaps he should compare the ratios between health care costs vs salaries; and, oh, by the way, figure into the equation:

--military member having to fend off bullets and watch for IEDs (danger in all aspects of their jobs), which federal employees don’t have to put up with,

--the fact that military families are often being split apart from each other during extended deployments, and,

--the constant uncertainty and hardships that military families have to endure throughout the members' career such as relocations, spouses having to find new jobs, children having to attend different schools and make new friends, saying goodbye to friends, neighbors, and family every three to four years.

If nothing else, the low health insurance costs and co-pays are a promise made to our low paid military families who for hundreds of years have given much, in some cases, their lives, to keep the federal employees, bureaucrats, and the rest of the nation in their cushy, safe, lives.

Given the trials and tribulations that no other sector or industry has to contend with, lower health care insurance premiums and co-pays is relatively a very small price to pay. Our government is willing to pay for health insurance with trillions of our tax dollars with no return on the investment, yet quibbling over $50 billion for military health care that comes with a very large payback—safety and freedom. And, here's another quick question to ponder, how much of your federal and state tax dollars are going to labor union employees to pay for their health care costs? Don’t sit back and hope for the best, write your congressman/women and voice your discontent.