Obamacare’s $716 billion in Medicare cuts will have a very real impact on limiting seniors’ access to care throughout the country, but a new study by two health-policy researchers shows that seniors in Florida, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and five other big states will take the largest hits.
In a working paper published by the University of Minnesota’s Medical Industry Leadership Institute, Robert A. Book and Michael Ramlet show that the cuts are unevenly distributed by state and county. Florida is near the top, facing $44 billion in Medicare-payment reductions over ten years to partially pay for the new Obamacare health-coverage subsidies.
California tops the list with nearly $61 billion, followed by Florida ($44 billion), Texas ($43 billion), New York ($40 billion), and Pennsylvania ($28 billion). Ohio ($21 billion) also is in the big eight, which all have more than $20 billion in anticipated cuts to Medicare provider and plan payments. Eighteen other states face at least $10 billion in cuts, including North Carolina, Virginia, Indiana, and Missouri.
The cuts will mean reductions in payments to hospitals, home health providers, nursing homes, and hospices ($415 billion), as well as cuts to the popular Medicare Advantage plans ($156 billion), which serve about 11 million seniors, plus other Medicare payment reductions.
And it is important to note that the $716 billion in Medicare cuts are actually spent twice in Obamacare, once to pretend to extend the solvency of Medicare by stretching payment dollars further and again to create the new health-insurance subsidies for those under age 65. And, as the president said, the same dollars cannot be spent twice.
Book, a senior research director with the HSI Network, and Ramlet, the director of health policy at the American Action Forum, used data from a July 24 updated analysis by the Congressional Budget Office of the Medicare payment reductions called for in the health-care-overhaul law through 2022. States and counties with the biggest cuts have proportionally large concentrations of seniors and/or high health costs.
The American Action Network has created a website that shows how data from the study break down by congressional districts. Residents of several districts face nearly $2 billion in cuts, including those represented by Representatives Ted Deutch of Florida, William Keating of Massachusetts, and Steve Israel of New York.
Supporters of the health law will have to explain these cuts to the seniors in their districts.
Posted on National Review Online: The Corner, September 17, 2012.