Tag Archives: medicare

74% of Obamacare’s Biggest Haters Now Say They Actually Love It

74% of Obamacare’s Biggest Haters Now Say They Actually Love It

“Republicans love it. Three-quarters of self-identified conservatives who purchased a health insurance plan under the Affordable Care Act say they are more than pleased with their new care.

In short, Obamacare is working — even for those who railed against it.

How it’s working: Among young adults (the new law’s most important benefactors), the rate of uninsured people declined by 28%, according to a new Commonwealth Fund study. Of all of those who signed up for Obamacare (either using Medicaid or private insurance) 58% said they were better off than they were before they got their new coverage. Those with Medicaid showed their new plans the most love — 67% said they were doing better with Obamacare.

Image Credit: Commonwealth Fund

Luckily for Republicans, the new health care plans are party-blind: Less than a year after launching an all-out war against Obamacare, Republicans have turned out to be some of its biggest benefactors — at least the ones who don’t live in states where conservative leaders have blocked the law. Along a strip of the Midwest and throughout most of the South where the law is not in effect, more than a third of the lowest-income residents remain uninsured. That number has remained virtually unchanged from last year, even as millions of people in surrounding states gained coverage (many of whom for the first time). Meanwhile, in states that did participate in the expansion, the cost of Medicare has plummeted, saving the U.S. government a cool $50 billion.

Image Credit: Kaiser Family Health Foundation

Despite a rocky roll-out, 8 million Americans signed up for Obamacare since it became available in January, decreasing the number of adults without insurance from 20% to 15%.

Image Credit: Commonwealth Fund

Most adults with new coverage have used it to go to the doctor. Overall, about 80% have said they are satisfied with their purchase.

“This is yet another datapoint showing that the Affordable Care Act is basically doing what it’s supposed to do,” The Kaiser Foundation’s Larry Levitt told the New York Times.”

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Dear Millennials, We’re Sorry

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June 9, 2014 · 6:06 pm

As Medicaid expands, hospitals see declines in charity care, self pay

“…’These findings not only affirm that more people are finding healthcare coverage who didn’t have it before, but also that it is having a positive impact by reducing the levels of uncompensated care at hospitals, which could further efforts to reduce healthcare costs,’ said the association’s president and CEO Steven Summer…”

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June 5, 2014 · 5:52 pm

Ohio bill would restrict abortion coverage

After reading the above article, I decided to write a letter to Rep. John Becker. For contact info, please visit http://www.ohiohouse.gov/john-becker.

 

Representative John Becker, District 65

77 S. High St 
12th Floor 
Columbus, OH 43215

 

Mr. Becker,

I recently read an article on House Bill 351 and your intention to ban public employees or those on Medicaid from having coverage for certain forms of birth control. As someone who was born and raised in Cincinnati, I wanted to add my voice to the others who are asking you to rethink your decision.

Firstly, IUDs do not cause abortions, they merely prevent pregnancy like other birth control methods. If you are not a medical doctor, your personal views on the matter are not relevant. You are literally forcing your personal, misinformed views on the Ohioan populace. If you want to rule Ohio effectively, you must use verified facts and evidence to back up your claims.

Secondly, if you’re still convinced that birth control should not be covered, then how do you feel about male-based birth control such as Vasogel? It’s a gel for men that renders sperm immotile and ineffective, thereby preventing the fertilization of an egg and consequent implantation of said egg. Nearly all birth control methods, whether for men or women, prevent implantation of a fertilized egg. If you’re going to ban IUDs, then it would follow logically that you would ban all forms that prevent implantation.

Thirdly, birth control is necessary for many women who have medical conditions like endrometriosis or for lowering the risk of cancer. If you’re so concerned about not wasting taxpayers’ money on prescription drugs relating to sexual activities, then why have penis pumps and other male-oriented sexual prescriptions received millions of dollars of federal funding over the years? Medicare has spent $172 million on penis pumps in the last five years alone. Viagra has also received $819 million and Cyalis (erectile dysfunction medication) more than $782 million. Should taxpayers pay for old men to have erect penises and not for women either to have sex without the risk of getting pregnant, to not get pregnant from sexual assault, or to treat a medical condition?

And, lastly, if rapists should be executed instead of the human products of rape, then it would logically follow that you intend to execute all rapists, including the teenage Steubenville rapists. Out of Ohio’s population of 11,485,910, there were a total of 4,419 reported forcible rape cases in 2008. And, in 2007, the average age of an arrested rapist (both men and women offenders) was 31 years old. The largest age range is 54.6% that were 18 to 29 years old, so you would be executing a significant amount of young men and women who are in the prime of their lives.

Please rethink your decision to pursue this bill. It could have huge, long-lasting consequences on the Ohioan populace. If your focus is “the right to life,” think about what quality of life you’re forcing these children and parents into. Just because they’re simply alive does not mean they are living. You are forcing these parents to forgo further education and to work multiple jobs to make ends meet, leaving no time for attentive and worthwhile child-raising. These children who are products of rape and incest put an enormous emotional and financial strain on their parents, possibly forcing them into a love-less and abusive marriage for the sake of the child. Children from unhappy families tend not to succeed in school or in life, thereby forcing down the success of the state of Ohio. If you were truly invested in their “right to life,” you would understand that it’s the quality of life that matters. Please rethink your decision.

Best Wishes,

Claire Jones

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June 4, 2014 · 7:04 pm

Hospital Charges Surge for Common Ailments, Data Shows

“…Charges for chest pain, for instance, rose 10 percent to an average of $18,505 in 2012, from $16,815 in 2011. Average hospital charges for digestive disorders climbed 8.5 percent to nearly $22,000, from $20,278 in 2011.

In 2012, hospitals charged more for every one of 98 common ailments that could be compared to the previous year. For all but seven, the increase in charges exceeded the nation’s 2 percent inflation rate for that year, according to The Times’s analysis…”

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June 3, 2014 · 7:08 pm

For Medicare, Immigrants Offer Surplus, Study Finds

By 

Published: May 29, 2013

“Immigrants have contributed billions of dollars more to Medicare in recent years than the program has paid out on their behalf, according to a new study, a pattern that goes against the notion that immigrants are a drain on federal health care spending.

The study, led by researchers at Harvard Medical School, measured immigrants’ contributions to the part of Medicare that pays for hospital care, a trust fund that accounts for nearly half of the federal program’s revenue. It found that immigrants generated surpluses totaling $115 billion from 2002 to 2009. In comparison, the American-born population incurred a deficit of $28 billion over the same period.

The findings shed light on what demographers have long known: Immigrants are crucial in balancing the age structure of American society, providing an infusion of young, working-age adults who support the country’s aging population and help cover the costs of Medicare and Social Security. And with the largest generation in the United States, the baby boomers, now starting to retire, the financial help from immigrants has never been more needed, experts said.

Individual immigrant contributions were roughly the same as those of American citizens, the study found, but immigrants as a group received less than they paid in, largely because they were younger on average than the American-born population and fewer of them were old enough to be eligible for benefits. The median age of Hispanics, whose foreign-born contingent is by far the largest immigrant group, is 27, according to the Brookings Institution. The median age of non-Hispanic whites in the United States is 42.

The study drew on two nationally representative federal surveys, from the Census Bureau and the Department of Health and Human Services. Researchers included the contributions of legal residents who were not citizens, a group that is eligible for Medicare if certain requirements are met; unauthorized immigrants; and citizens who were born abroad.

It was not clear how much of the surplus was made up of earnings by immigrants in the country illegally, who are ineligible for most government programs.

The Census Bureau, whose data was used for the contributions portion of the study, says it attempts to count all immigrants, including those in the country illegally.

The finding “pokes a hole in the widespread assumption that immigrants drain U.S. health care spending dollars,” said Leah Zallman, an instructor of medicine at Harvard Medical School and the lead author of the study.

The study, which was published on the Web site of the journal Health Affairs on Wednesday, comes as Congress considers legislation that would eventually give legal status to the country’s 11 million unauthorized immigrants. The legislation has sparked a vigorous debate about whether immigrants ultimately contribute more than they receive from the federal budget. One of the sticking points has been whether immigrants should be eligible for government programs, including health benefits, before they qualify for citizenship, but while they are on the path to getting it.

The study was concerned only with Medicare, the federal program that accounts for about a fifth of all American health care expenditures. Experts said that the study’s findings served as a useful reminder that immigrants, at least for now, are extending the life of the beleaguered program, not hastening its demise.

“There’s this strong belief that immigrants are takers,” said Leighton Ku, the director of the Center for Health Policy Research at George Washington University. “This shows they are contributing hugely. Without immigrants, the Medicare trust fund would be in trouble sooner.” The belief prevails, for example, among some opponents of immigration reform.

The study did not grapple with the health care costs of immigrants over their full lifetimes, a calculation that economists say is critical to understanding their long-term impact on the federal budget.

“It’s just a snapshot of a point in time,” said Paul Van de Water, a visiting fellow at the liberal-leaning Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.

Similar calculations have been made for Social Security. The chief actuary of the Social Security Administration, Stephen C. Goss, estimated that immigrants in the country illegally, some of whom assume fake Social Security numbers to provide cover for employers and themselves, among other reasons, generated a surplus of about $12 billion for the Social Security Trust Fund in 2010.

But that equation would change if unauthorized immigrants were to gain legal status under a new law and eventually began collecting Social Security once they were of retirement age. One major policy question is how much that might cost, experts said.

The Heritage Foundation, a conservative institute, estimated that the legislation’s changes, if implemented, could cost taxpayers more than $6 trillion. Critics of that calculation said it did not take into account the economic benefits that would arise from taking millions of people out of the shadow economy.

Mr. Goss, in a letter this month to Senator Marco Rubio, a Florida Republican, said that the legislation’s effect on the health of Social Security would be positive in the long term.

Gordon Hanson, a professor of economics at the University of California, San Diego, who has worked on migration issues for 20 years, said there was still no comprehensive nonpartisan analysis of the fiscal consequences of putting illegal immigrants on the books.

Federal coffers tend to benefit from immigrants in the country illegally, he said, with contributions to programs like Social Security and Medicare that those immigrants cannot draw on later. State and local governments, on the other hand, have to absorb more of the costs, like education for their children and emergency room visits.

Immigrants tend to be healthier than American-born citizens, and have lower mortality rates, research has found. Dr. Ku said there was evidence that individual immigrants also use less health care than native-born Americans. He has calculated, for example, that immigrants’ medical costs were 14 percent to 20 percent less than those of native-born Americans, even after controlling for other factors like emergency room visits and insurance coverage, which fewer immigrants have.

The study found that average costs to Medicare for immigrant enrollees in 2009 were $3,923, lower than the average $5,388 expenditure for the American-born. The difference, however, was just shy of statistical significance, because of wide variations in medical expenditures and the small numbers of immigrant enrollees, which made the study’s margin of error wide.

Robert Rector, a senior research fellow at the Heritage Foundation, who was an author of the institute’s report this month, said that looking at Medicare alone was not very useful, as it was just one slice of the entire entitlement pie. And the large immigrant youth population, which the study spends most of its time on, is familiar, he said.

“It’s a yawner of a study,” he said. “Young people don’t get Medicare. We don’t need several Ph.D.’s to tell us that.”

Others defended the findings, saying that they showed immigrants were helping prop up the country’s retirement funds at the critical point when baby boomers were starting to retire.

“They’ll be paying into the system at the very time it is most strained,” said Patrick Oakford, a researcher on economic and immigration policy at the Center for American Progress, a liberal-leaning institute. He estimated that the average undocumented immigrant was 34 and therefore would not retire until 2046.

 

A version of this article appeared in print on May 30, 2013, on page A14 of the New York edition with the headline: For Medicare, Immigrants Offer Surplus, Study Finds.”

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May 30, 2013 · 8:29 pm

Student Loan Debt

Student Loan Debt

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January 24, 2013 · 4:42 pm