“Is Donald Berwick, the controversial new head of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, standing by the Obama administration’s double counting of savings in the new health care law? At a Senate hearing this morning, he declined to engage with official criticism of the administration’s claim that the the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act extends the Medicare Trust Fund.”

Details

“Dr. Donald Berwick has his coming out party today in Washington. After President Obama snuck him into office during a recess appointment as the head of the second largest health insurance company in the world- CMS (Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services) without so much as a single hearing, Senators finally have an opportunity to meet him during a Finance Committee meeting.”

Details

“My conversations lead me to believe that many people are expecting that the plans offered in the exchanges will be Medicare-like in many ways. I feel like many people think they will have choice of doctor, choice of hospital, and the ability to dictate care. I’m not seeing how insurance companies will be able to offer such products at prices people can afford. As I talk to more and more people in the insurance industry, my thoughts seem confirmed. I may be wrong, but I think it’s worth addressing. Mistaken expectations have been, and continue to be, a real problem in health care reform.”

Details

Medicare is facing a huge 23% cut to doctor reimbursements starting December 1. Doctors are panicking, and it will likely be overturned, but ObamaCare is paid for with the same type of across the board cuts to Medicare payments. “Breast cancer surgeon Kathryn Wagner has posted a warning in her waiting room about a different sort of risk to patients’ health: She’ll stop taking new Medicare cases if Congress allows looming cuts in doctors’ pay to go through.”

Details

“Health providers dropping Medicare patients is the worst case scenario, especially in light of the flood of baby boomers set to retire and join Medicare. For now, many hospitals are preparing for revenue cuts as best they can. For Memorial Hospital, this means reducing the work force.”

Details

“Mr. Obama declared at the time that ‘uninsured Americans who’ve been locked out of the insurance market because of a pre-existing condition will now be able to enroll in a new national insurance pool where they’ll finally be able to purchase quality, affordable health care—some for the very first time in their lives.’ So far that statement accurately describes a single person in North Dakota. Literally, one person has signed up out of 647,000 state residents. Four people have enrolled in West Virginia. Things are better in Minnesota, where Mr. Obama has rescued 15 out of 5.2 million, and also in Indiana—63 people there. HHS did best among the 24.7 million Texans. Thanks to ObamaCare, 393 of them are now insured.”

Details

“The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) will place unprecedented fiscal pressure on states, several of which are already suffering from multibillion-dollar budget deficits. Although many of the law’s most costly requirements will not take effect until 2014, some states are bracing for billions in new spending, while others have already started to take costly steps toward implementing the new law.”

Details

“Instead, the co-chairs propose the same ol’ failed strategy of trying to limit Medicare and Medicaid spending using government price-and-exchange controls, which they euphemistically describe as “rebates” and ”payment reforms.” Along the same lines, they propose strengthening IPAB, ObamaCare‘s rationing board. IPAB’s mandate is — you guessed it — to ration care by fiddling with Medicare and Medicaid’s price and exchange controls. It will therefore inevitably fall prey to the same political buzzsaw.”

Details

“The Bowles-Simpson proposal would leave in place the entire trillion-dollar monstrosity. Indeed, many of its supposed cost-cutting recommendations would build on Obamacare’s flawed structure of government-driven cost-cutting through price controls. In particular, they would like to create what amounts to a global budget on health care, with the Independent Payment Advisory Board (IPAB) given the unilateral authority to hit budget targets with price cutting. This is exactly the opposite of what’s needed, which is cost discipline through consumer choice in a functioning marketplace.”

Details

ObamaCare is planning to achieve significant savings in Medicare through creating Accountable Care Organizations to coordinate patient care. But these ACOs are unlikely to work because very few doctors and hospitals are equipped to set them up any time soon.

Details