How the Sequester is Killing Healthcare Jobs
Sequester-driven budget cuts to Medicare are threatening to spur massive job cuts in the healthcare industry.
And the pain doesn't stop there – the sequester cuts are already making healthcare harder to obtain for some Medicare patients.
Unfortunately, this is just the beginning. The longer Congress allows sequestration to continue, the deeper the cuts will go and the more widespread their impact.
When President Barack Obama and Congress failed to reach agreement on $1.2 trillion in cuts to federal spending before March 30 — as mandated by the Budget Control Act of 2011 — the sequester kicked in.
Medicare providers faced mandatory 2% across-the-board reductions in their reimbursements.
After the cuts went into effect on April 1, hospitals, doctors, insurers, prescription drug plans, and other healthcare providers immediately felt the impact.
In short, the sequester is delivering precisely the kind of broad, damaging and indiscriminate cuts that politicians warned would happen.
And as each day passes, the drastic consequences grow worse.
Healthcare Costs: Same Procedure is $7,000 Here and $100,000 There
When it comes to healthcare costs, Americans have been left in the dark.
Unlike when booking a hotel or buying a new flat-screen TV, Americans haven't had easy access to cost-comparison measures when deciding where to have their medical procedures done.
Turns out, if we had, some of us could have saved tens of thousands of dollars…
Healthcare Stocks Start to Feel Pinch from Obamacare Law
When the Supreme Court upheld the Obamacare law last year, many pundits set about predicting the winners and losers among healthcare stocks.
Now that full implementation of the Affordable Care Act is less than a year away, it's starting to look like the law will produce mostly losers.
Fallout from Obamacare has had a negative impact on the first-quarter earnings of many healthcare companies, a bad sign with so much time left before the law hits full force.
So far, we've seen disappointing reports from healthcare stocks in areas as diverse as medical testing, hospitals, insurers, and medical device makers.
"It's still early in the reporting season, but so far, it all points to softness," David Heupel, senior healthcare analyst at Thrivent Investment Management, told Reuters.
Obamacare's War on Full-Time Jobs Will Sucker Punch Economy
Obamacare's rules regarding hours worked and employer-sponsored healthcare coverage have entire industries looking at cutting down on their number of full-time employees in favor of more part-time employees.
Large industries affected include hotels, restaurants and retailers, as well as small businesses of all stripes.
In essence, the hefty financial burden imposed by Obamacare for having too many full-time employees is creating a huge incentive for many employers to cut workers' hours, or, in some cases, avoid hiring altogether.
Tens of millions of American workers are at risk of being denied employer-sponsored health insurance as a result, and will end up with less pay to boot.
It could be a disaster for the still-lagging U.S. economy.
"If you want to have reduced work, lower wages and economic stagnation, this is a great way to do it," Ed Haislmaier, a senior research fellow at the Heritage Foundation, told FOX News.
How Obamacare Navigators Will Waste Your Time and Tax Money
The insurance exchanges mandated by the 2009 health care law will be so utterly baffling that the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services now needs to hire of tens of thousands of "Obamacare navigators" – at a cost to taxpayers of $9 billion or more every year.
Anyone who uses the new exchanges will quickly find out why Obamacare navigators were deemed necessary.
The draft application form for an individual is already up to 15 pages, while the form for a family is at 21 pages. And the instruction book is 61 pages.
"It's a lot of information that consumers are going to have to provide, and that could deter people from signing up," Laura Adams, senior insurance analyst at InsuranceQuotes.com, told MarketWatch. "That could be an issue for some people who don't like paperwork. And who likes paperwork?"
The government estimates the form will take anywhere from 20 to 45 minutes to complete, but that doesn't count all the information and document-gathering an applicant will need to do before even walking in the door of an exchange.
"If you like IRS forms, you're going to love this one," Ken Hoagland, chairman of conservative advocacy group Restore America's Voice, told MarketWatch. "These are the kinds of things that are going to drive people crazy."
Just How Big Will Your "Obamacare Surprise" Be?…Wait Until You See This Chart
When touting his signature healthcare reform law, the "Affordable Care Act," President Barack Obama promised it would "cut the cost of a typical family's premium by up to $2,500 a year."
But a new congressional study says Obamacare has, in fact, increased the average family premium by $3,000 – and that's before the most costly requirements of the law take effect next year.
"Higher healthcare premiums are the last thing single young adults and working families can afford," the report stated. "Yet contrary to what the president promised, that is exactly what Obamacare is projected to do."
Warning: Hidden Obamacare Taxes Will Cost You More Than You Think
The bill for Obamacare is on its way, and guess what? It's addressed to you.
You see, all those great benefits included in the Affordable Care Act don't come cheap, which is why the new healthcare law includes a barrage of new "Obamacare taxes."
And don't believe for a second the new Obamacare taxes will hit only the "rich" or those making over $250,000.
Some do, but you'd be surprised at how many of these new taxes also hit the middle class.
Worse still, many of these new measures are disguised as taxes on businesses. The bulk of these "stealth taxes" will be transferred to consumers via higher prices for drugs and health insurance.
"The legislation imposes more than $569 billion in new or increased taxes, the vast majority of which will fall on businesses," writes Michael Tanner in a 2011 Cato Institute report on the impact of the healthcare law. "Many of those taxes, especially those on hospitals, insurers, and medical device manufacturers, will ultimately be passed on through higher health costs."
Even still, few realize just how many new taxes lurk within the law's 2,500-plus pages because most of the talk about the Affordable Care Act focused on the constitutionality of the individual mandate.
Of course, according to Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts, even that turned out to be a tax.
Obamacare Taxes You'll Pay Directly
In addition to the hidden Obamacare taxes, which we'll get to shortly, the law reaches directly into your pocket in several ways:
Healthcare Reform Could Radically Change Your Benefit Plan
Both before and after Congress passed healthcare reform, Americans with employee health benefits were assured the legislation would not disrupt their coverage.
U.S. President Barack Obama has often repeated that pledge, which includes anyone who has health insurance.
"If you're one of the more than 250 million Americans who already have health insurance, you will keep your health insurance," the president said following the Supreme Court decision on June 28 that upheld Obamacare. "This law will only make it more secure and more affordable."
Of course, Republicans claims on Obamacare take the opposite extreme.
"Frankly, the people who have healthcare in this country and like it will not be able to keep what they have," said House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-VA, the same day.
While something of an exaggeration, Cantor may be closer to the real-life impact of the Affordable Care Act than the president, particularly when it comes to employee-sponsored health benefits.
The Congressional Budget Office estimates 154 million Americans – 72% of the non-elderly population – have health insurance through their employer.
While nothing in Obamacare explicitly forces employers to drop coverage, the healthcare reform law does introduce new rules and requirements. Those provisions will affect how employers offer health insurance, what plans they offer and if they offer any at all.
Business owners, for their part, are still making up their minds as to how they'll deal with the changes healthcare reform will bring (unless, of course, the Republicans sweep in November and repeal it).
Prepare for the Obamacare Ruling Aftermath
U.S. President Barack Obama and his camp won a battle today (Thursday) when the Supreme Court handed down its landmark Obamacare ruling and upheld the constitutionality of the controversial healthcare law.
Just after 10 a.m. EDT word came that the U.S. Supreme Court, in a 5-4 decision, upheld a key provision of the law that requires all individuals to have health insurance.
Starting in 2014, Obamacare, more formally known as The Protection and Affordable Care Act, is set to impose massive penalties (taxes) on young workers, small business and others who choose not to buy health insurance.
Experimental Brain Injury Treatments Could Be Worth Billions
Brain trauma is one tough and expensive field.
Each year brain injuries cost the nation roughly $50 billion. That's half a trillion every decade.
And then there's the human toll….
Brain injuries kill 52,000 people each year, making this the third leading cause of death from injury.
But there's more to this story than the death toll. Another 80,000 people a year in the U.S. survive brain injuries but go on to lead reduced lives.
Luckily, there is hope. Today we're on the verge of saving millions from the suffering brought about by traumatic brain injuries.
And that's what the Era of Radical Change is all about — seeing friends and family survive things that a few years ago would have killed them.
It's all the result of more than 50 years of exponential growth in high tech and its effect on every aspect of science.
We are now at a tipping point in human history. Cases that once seemed doomed now offer new hope.
Brain Injuries: The Tragedy and the Hope
Unfortunately, this is a story I know all too well. It is one of the reasons why I'm deeply interested in this field.
Nineteen years ago last March, my cousin was killed in an infamous boating accident while his family looked on.
Doctors tried to save him but to no avail. His brain injuries were just too severe.
Now I wonder how my cousin would have done had that very same boat crash happened today.
As it turns out, a similar accident just occurred in our town.