NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis


June 2, 2010

Passage of ObamaCare will have negative consequences for practically all Americans.  However, it is the nation's senior citizens who will get the short end of the stick after enactment of the president's health care agenda, says Robert Moffit, a health policy expert with the Heritage Foundation. 

Less choice: 

  • ObamaCare will reduce payments to Medicare Advantage, likely decreasing benefits and causing approximately half of current participants to drop out.
  • These seniors will have little choice but to go back to traditional Medicare and buy a supplemental policy to cover Medicare's big gaps in coverage. 

Reduced access to care: 

  • With the retirement of 77 million baby boomers beginning in 2011, the Medicare program will have to absorb an unprecedented demand for medical services.
  • For the next generation of senior citizens, finding a doctor will be more difficult and waiting times for doctor appointments are likely to be longer.
  • The American Association of Medical Colleges projects a shortage of 124,000 doctors by 2025. ObamaCare does nothing to reverse this worrisome trend, instead making it worse. 

Medicare payment cuts: 

  • Providers for whom Medicare constitutes a substantive portion of their business could find it difficult to remain profitable and, absent legislative intervention, might end their participation in the program (possibly jeopardizing access to care for beneficiaries).
  • Indeed, creating a real problem for seniors, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) Actuary estimates that roughly 15 percent of Medicare Part A providers -- the part of the Medicare program that pays hospital costs -- would become unprofitable within 10 years. 

Higher taxes: 

  • The higher taxes on drugs (effective in 2011) and medical devices (effective in 2013) will affect seniors especially, as they are more heavily dependent on those very products.
  • Moreover, federal premium taxes will apply to Medicare Advantage, as well as federal retirees' health plans. 

Source: Kathryn Nix, "Seniors Will Lose Big Under ObamaCare," Heritage Foundation, May 24, 2010; based upon: Robert Moffit, "ObamaCare: Impact on Seniors," Heritage Foundation, May 20, 2010. 

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