NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis


May 14, 2010

Just before the House passed the health care reform bill, Speaker Nancy Pelosi infamously remarked "We have to pass the bill so you can find out what's in it."  It has been nearly six weeks now and we are finding out that what is in it is not necessarily good for health care, says Rep. Joe Pitts (R-Penn.). 

We are finding that medical costs will rise nationwide: 

  • According to a report from the federal agency that administers Medicare and Medicaid, national health expenditures will increase by $311 billion over 10 years because of the new law.
  • This same report indicated that individuals who purchase health insurance on their own can expect to pay an additional $2,100 a year (the individual market was already pricing out many consumers, but now costs will rise even faster).
  • Premiums are not the only area where expenses are projected to rise; because of new taxes and fees on prescription drugs and medical devices, the agency report states that costs would be "passed through to health consumers." 

We are finding that it will affect Medicare Advantage programs detrimentally: 

  • Medicare Advantage programs were established to introduce market reforms to the Medicare program.
  • The flexibility of the Medicare Advantage programs have made them popular with seniors, especially lower income beneficiaries; nearly 30,000 seniors in Pennsylvania's 16th Congressional District elect one of these plans.
  • Because of deep cuts in the program, Republicans estimate that one in four seniors could see their Medicare Advantage plan cancelled; these estimates were wrong -- now the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services estimate that half of seniors will lose the coverage that they currently have. 

Seniors on Medicare Advantage are not the only ones who could see changes to Medicare.  The law cuts $575 billion out of Medicare over the next 10 years.   It is difficult to clearly identify how this will change the program, but many doctors warn that they may not be able to continue seeing Medicare patients if the cuts are too severe.  Already, Medicare reimbursement rates are far below those paid by private insurers, says Pitts. 

Source: Joe Pitts, "We found out what's in it," Daily Caller, May 10, 2010. 

For text: 


Browse more articles on Health Issues