Tags: Barack Obama | Exclusive Interviews | Healthcare Reform | health care | Obamacare | Capretta

Healthcare Expert Capretta: Obamacare Is Sick Law

By Henry J. Reske and Ashley Martella   |   Monday, 28 Mar 2011 12:25 PM

President Barack Obama’s highly touted healthcare reform law offers bad medicine at higher costs for patients, healthcare expert James Capretta tells Newsmax.TV.

Obamacare will propel rationed services, limit Medicare coverage options for seniors, and create a huge new bureaucracy to run it, says Capretta, co-author of a new book, “Why Obamacare Is Wrong for America.”

In other words, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act signed into law a year ago March 23 doesn’t live up to its name, because it will do neither, Capretta said during the exclusive interview with Newsmax.TV.

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“Rationing occurs when the government pays a very low rate for a service so low that the suppliers of the service no longer are willing to supply it so they leave the marketplace,” said Capretta, who was the top budget official for healthcare during the George W. Bush administration. “So, people then have fewer options to go see and get that service. That’s what’s happening under this law.

“They’re going to pay lower and lower rates for medical services,” he said. “That will drive suppliers out of the market. People needing medical care will then have fewer people to go to get the care they need. That’s rationing and that’s what going to happen under the law.”

Capretta said he helped put the book together because people need a single-volume look at the law and how it affects seniors, employers, families, doctors, and taxpayers.

Hidden aspects of the law, which faces court challenges on several fronts, continue to be uncovered, said Capretta, a fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center.

“I don’t think a lot of people realize that there are 159 new agencies and boards created in the law,” he said. “I don’t think a lot of people know that there’s a disincentive for employers to go from 50 employees to 51 because, if they do so, they are subject to a lot of onerous penalties and regulations, so there’s a huge disincentive for companies to grow. I don’t think people realize there’s a disincentive to hire workers from low-income households because employers can be penalized for not offering them one-size-fits-all government approved insurance.”

The idea that Democrats floated that the law would make the country’s fiscal outlook better was just a ploy to “grease the way for its passage but in the end we’re going to end up with a lot more spending and a lot more taxes.”

“Here you have a situation where you are putting a lot more people into government subsidized coverage. I think it’s common sense, and most people understand that drives prices up, not down. And it was never really believable; the president promised a $2,500 premium reduction for people who already had coverage . . . Moreover, the law requires a lot of benefits and coverage items that are not covered by some plans today so that’s going to drive the price of them up even higher.”

Two aspects of the law are particularly troublesome for seniors, he said.

“First, if you are in a Medicare Advantage plan, that the private insurance component of Medicare, they’ve taken that program down a huge amount,” he said. “They don’t like that program because it’s private insurance. They took about $150 billion over 10 years out of the payment stream for those types of plans. It’s estimated that the number of people enrolled in Medicare Advantage will then drop from an expected 14 million to about 7 million because of those cuts. So seven million seniors who would have been in plans they preferred now no longer have that option.”

As to the eventual fate of the law, Capretta cautioned against putting “all our eggs in the court battle.” It is possible that courts eventually will strike down portions of the law and leave a large segment of it standing.

“At the end of the day, we’re going to have to win this fight in the legislative arena,” he said.

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