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Saturday, October 30, 2010
Hanabusa Insurance: Medicare cuts, higher prices, and denial of care
By News Release @ 2:50 PM :: 9834 Views :: Maui County, Education K-12, Energy, Environment, National News, Ethics


Colleen Hanabusa has used every opportunity to say that she “supports our kupuna.” Which makes her unabashed support of the $1 trillion government takeover of health care known as Obamacare that much more puzzling.

Recently, in a debate, she claimed that no seniors would see Medicare cuts – that it is guaranteed. Actually, that’s false. Here are the facts:

ObamaCare cuts $575.1 billion from Medicare, according to President Obama’s chief actuary.   These cuts will affect all aspects on health care for seniors—coverage, prices, and access.  In addition, ObamaCare includes billions of dollars in tax increases on seniors.

Loss of Coverage

Despite multiple public pledges by President Obama that all Americans will be able to keep their current health insurance coverage, many seniors are on the verge of losing their Medicare Advantage plans.  According to the June 2009 MedPac data book, 10.5 million seniors opted out of traditional Medicare in 2009 and selected a Medicare Advantage plan to cover their health care needs. 

Yet, ObamaCare cuts $145 billion from Medicare Advantage plans, which President Obama’s chief actuary believes will cause up to 50 percent of seniors to lose their current Medicare Advantage plan.

Additionally, many employers provide prescription drug coverage to their former employees who are retired and are seniors.  ObamaCare eliminates a tax subsidy that encourages employers to offer this benefit.  Large employers, such as Caterpillar, Deere, Verizon, and AT&T, are considering dropping coverage because of ObamaCare.

Higher Prices

ObamaCare includes $107.1 billion in tax increases on medical device manufacturers, prescription drug companies, and health insurance companies.  The president’s chief actuary believes all these tax increases will be passed along to consumers in the form of higher prices.  Seniors will pay the vast majority of these tax increases.  They will either pay these higher prices at the point of purchase or, more likely, on secondary health insurance coverage, such as medigap policies.   

“Unearned Income” Tax and a new 0.9 Medicare Tax:  ObamaCare includes a $210.1 billion tax increase on “unearned income” and a new 0.9 percent tax on high-wage earners.  A new 3.8 percent tax on “unearned income” is imposed on all Americans, but it will hit seniors especially hard when they sell their house to retire to a smaller one or use their home for rental income.

$5 billion Medicine Cabinet Tax Increase on HSAs and FSAs:  Approximately 10 million people have HSAs nationwide.  Americans who turn 65 can still use their HSA to pay for medical care, but ObamaCare taxes over-the-counter (OTC) non-prescribed household health care items when paid from an HSA or FSA. 

Access Denied

ObamaCare cuts $233 billion from Medicare Part A and B payments to hospitals, skilled nursing facilities, and home health agencies. Recently, the Houston Chronicle reported that 300 doctors have stopped seeing seniors and dropped out of Medicare in the last two years.

President Obama’s chief actuary concluded that these cuts could jeopardize access to care for seniors and force roughly 15 percent of Medicare Part A providers to become unprofitable and drop out of Medicare.

ObamaCare included $2.5 billion for a Comparative Effectiveness Research Board, which will determine the type and quantity of medical care Americans receive.  Seniors spend a lot of money on health care, and a government board should not determine what kind of health care and how much health care a senior gets.

Hanabusa decries the “politics of fear,” but the reality is that what Americans are really afraid of is more government intrusion between them and their doctors. Charles Djou believes it’s better to tell the truth – even if it’s scary.


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