Tags: McCaughey | obama | health

McCaughey: Obamacare Would Hurt Elderly

Tuesday, 28 Jul 2009 08:39 PM

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One of the nation’s leading experts on government healthcare says both the Senate and the House versions of healthcare reform would destroy a U.S. system that is among the best in the world at prolonging citizens’ lives.

Moreover, former New York Lt. Gov. Betsy McCaughey says both versions of the bills being debated in Congress would end widespread medical choice and probably destroy private insurance plans such as Blue Cross/Blue Shield.

McCaughey told Newsmax.TV’s Ashley Martella that the most pernicious elements of the Obama-inspired plans would cripple cardio-pulmonary and orthopedic treatment for the elderly. These two fields of medicine have seen some of the most profound breakthroughs in medical science allowing Americans to live longer, more productive lives.

See Video: Former New York Lt. Gov. Betsy McCaughey discusses how Obamacare could erode health coverage for the elderly - Click Here Now

Unlike many in Congress, McCaughey not only has read the thousand-page bills but also has the expertise to assess them. A health policy expert, patient advocate, and constitutional historian, McCaughey was a major player behind the demise of the Democrats' first attempt to pass socialized medicine, in 1993.

“It is disturbing to see how different the actual provisions of these bills are from what we’ve all been told,” McCaughey said. “We’ve been told again and again that if you like your private health plan, you can keep it, that if you have one of those great Blue Cross/Blue Shield plans that lets you go to any doctor at any time, that’s yours.

“But the bills make it very clear that those types of plans are history,” McCaughey said. “What the bills say is that if you get your insurance through an employer, your employer will be given a grace period and then forced, legally required to switch you to an HMO-style plan . . . these are the plans that restrict you access to specialists.”

Even if there were no “public option” in the bills, McCaughey said, these proposals would drive people from established private insurance plans. The result would be a nation of managed care plans denying all but the very rich access to the doctors of their choice.

“Managed care is very unpopular in the United States because people don’t want insurance companies saying you can’t see a doctor or you can’t go to a specialist until you get permission from your insurance company,” McCaughey told Martella. “Or you can’t get a diagnostic test. And these bills will require you to switch to what the government calls a qualified plan, and HMO-style plan even if there is no public option.

“The penalties are quite severe,” McCaughey said. “When you file your taxes you’ll have to attach proof on your form that you’ve enrolled in one of these plans . . . And if you haven’t you will be fined thousands of dollars and then automatically enrolled in one of these randomly selected government qualified plans.”

Seniors will bear the brunt of this new era in healthcare, McCaughey said. The Obama-inspired plan is estimated to cost up to $1.6 trillion. Half of that would be paid with increased taxes, while the rest would be made up with about $500 billion in Medicare cuts. This will be happening at the very time Medicare enrollment increases by a third as a new generation of Baby Boomers reach their retirement years.

“Many more people, many fewer dollars and that will necessitate a cut in benefits — fewer hip replacements, fewer knee replacements, bypass surgeries, and angioplasties. Those are the four procedures that most seniors need to avoid disability and enjoy their later years,” McCaughey said.

See Video: Former New York Lt. Gov. Betsy McCaughey discusses how Obamacare could erode health coverage for the elderly - Click Here Now

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