We've talked about how Obamacare will affect our regular health insurers and routine doctor visits, but how about how Obamacare will affect Medicare?
We've all known for a while that the future of Medicare, the program than provides health insurance to seniors, is in dire straits. What we're just finding out is that Obamacare is making it worse.
The White House's decision earlier this month to postpone part of U.S. President Barack Obama's signature healthcare reform (the employer mandate that will fine businesses that don't offer employees insurance) underscores how flawed the bill is and how unprepared we are for its full roll-out.
Medicare is already feeling the impact. Faced with myriad long-term fiscal challenges, some of which are among the country's most pressing issues, Medicare's ills are merely amplified by Obamacare.
On the fast-track to bankruptcy, estimates are that Medicare's Part A trust fund, which has long-term unfunded obligations of more than $35 trillion, will be insolvent by 2026, according to Washington, D.C. think-tank The Heritage Foundation.
That means the U.S. government has made $35 trillion worth (more than double the nation's total current debt) of benefit promises to current and future seniors that aren't yet paid for.
Furthermore, that staggering amount is expected to grow as millions more Americans are eligible for coverage.
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Moreover, individuals already in the program stand to be shut out of some of the key preventive services included under the new healthcare law. And, new enrollees are apt have difficulty finding a doctor since many physicians are refusing to accept new patients.
Following are three examples of how Obamacare will affect Medicare.
Three Ways How Obamacare Will Affect Medicare
1. Sizable payment reductions will shrink access to care. The Congressional Budget Office reports Obamacare will reduce Medicare reimbursements by $716 billion over the next decade. These cuts will impact Part A providers such as hospitals, nursing homes, skilled nursing facilities, and hospices, in addition to Medicare Advantage plans. By 2019, the CBO projects, 15% of Medicare providers will fall into the red. By 2030, the number rises to 25%. By 2050, it jumps to 40%. The result will be a reduction in seniors' accessibility to medical care. "Providers could not sustain continuing negative margins and would have to withdraw from serving Medicare beneficiaries or (if total facility margins remained positive) shift substantial portions of Medicare costs to non-Medicare, non-Medicare payers," the CBO said.