The board can’t make any changes to Medicare’s fee-for-service structure or adjust the benefits seniors receive. That leaves two options for bringing Medicare’s costs into balance. IPAB could cut payments to doctors or Congress could raise taxes.
Reimbursements for doctors are already low. Doctors receive 20% less from the government than they do from private patients. In the future, medical students may have to decide between operating their practices at a loss or turning away sick Medicare patients.
ObamaCare won’t reduce the cost of health care, either. The law will require everyone to buy generous health insurance policies with deductibles below $2,000 by 2014. Of course, policies with low deductibles and numerous benefits are more expensive than those with high deductibles and fewer benefits.
Hence, people will pay more for insurance. This year, the average employer-based family plan will cost $20,728 nearly 7% more than last year, according to the consulting firm Milliman.
ObamaCare will also force insurers to cover everyone regardless of pre-existing conditions or health status and to charge them similar rates.
The old may be charged no more than three times what the young pay and smokers’ premiums may be no more than 1.5 times those of non-smokers.
Expanding access to coverage is important. But ObamaCare does so in the most expensive way possible. Young, healthy Americans will have to buy more coverage than they need. And premiums for everyone will jump to levels that only the highest-risk patients previously faced.
All these mandates will further remove patients from the cost of the care they receive and exacerbate our health care system’s cost crisis.
It’s no wonder, then, that America’s health expenditures will be $311 billion more through 2020 than they would’ve been without ObamaCare, according to Medicare’s chief actuary.
America’s future doctors know better than anyone else that our health care system needs reform. Everyone wants affordable, accessible, quality care. But ObamaCare will not solve our system’s problems. It will make them worse. Sadly, medical students will soon experience that firsthand.