Health Law to Be Revised by Ending a Program

The Obama administration announced Friday that it was scrapping a long-term care insurance program created by the new health care law because it was too costly and would not work.

Kathleen Sebelius, the secretary of health and human services, said she had concluded that premiums would be so high that few healthy people would sign up. The program, which was intended for people with chronic illnesses or severe disabilities, was known as Community Living Assistance Services and Supports, or Class.

“We have not identified a way to make Class work at this time,” Ms. Sebelius said. She said the program, which had been championed by Senator Edward M. Kennedy, Democrat of Massachusetts, was financially unsustainable.

If you think Obamacare is unpopular now, wait until it actually takes effect.

Why don’t we try a plan that works?

Per person spending on health care, 2008:

United States $7538
Canada $4079
Germany $3737
France $3696
Australia $3353
United Kingdom $3129
Spain $2902
Italy $2870
Japan $2729

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41 Responses to No CLASS

  1. yttik says:

    It’s kind of ironic, the more we spend on health care in the US, the sicker people get. I blame it on the stress of all those insurance forms and co pays and bureaucracy that causes you to get 15 separate bills for every appointment. That crap drives me to drink and eat excessive amounts of chocolate and fried foods. The next thing I know my cholesterol is too high and I need to take drugs, drugs which can cause liver damage that I have to be tested for constantly which then leads to 45 more bills which causes my blood pressure to go up. Before you know it I’m at the kitchen table having a stroke because the whole hamster wheel I’m stuck on is so damn frustrating.

    I’m being a smart ass. The real truth of the matter is that I lost my insurance when Obamacare was signed into law. Tell you the truth, not having any insurance is a mixed blessing because I swear half the time it seems like the pharmaceutical industry and the medical establishment have gone out of their way to try and kill me.

  2. 1539days says:

    Those spending numbers are from Kaiser, which makes me wonder.

    Two things have to happen with health care for costs to go down. First, there needs to be tort reform. If we have universal health care, all doctors will be federal employees. The government will likely use that to cap punitive damages for malpractice claims. Plus, if there’s universal health insurance, there will likely be universal malpractice insurance. If that gets low enough, CYA medicine would stop and medical tests would be reduced.

    The next is that doctor pay would have to lessen. Right now, we have a lack of doctors. Work has been redistributed to lower levels of staff. It’s expensive to become a doctor and to stay a doctor. Now the government could help with medical school tuition, but that’s a health care expense.

    Something like 50% of people are on government health plans already. They are either Veterans, government employees or using Medicare / Medicaid or whatever system an individual state provides.

    • insanelysane says:

      One things needs to happen for health care costs to go down.

      Take the profits out of health care.

    • votermom says:

      If we have universal health care, all doctors will be federal employees.

      Not necessarily true. Many other countries with UHC don’t do it that way.

      • 1539days says:

        Then we’ll still have expensive universal health care.

        • Catfish says:

          Nope. Look at the number for Canada.

        • 1539days says:

          How much do doctors make there?

        • Jadzia says:

          Is this the right question, though? Raw salary numbers don’t take into account things like taxes, nor the different components of “cost of living” in different societies. (For example, a Canadian doctor or other professional might take home less than an American doctor, but because of the lower cost of higher education up there, she would probably be making much lower student loan payments, and also have more disposable income because she doesn’t have to save as much to send her own kids to college.) There is an apples-to-oranges aspect that I think is obscured just by looking at pay scales.

        • 1539days says:

          But there’s an apples-to-orange aspect of comparing the “per capita” cost of health care too.

    • myiq2xu says:

      Right now, we have a lack of doctors.

      Right now the AMA limits the number of slots in medical schools.

      We don’t have a shortage of doctors because of low pay.

      • 1539days says:

        But we may in the future. I know of doctors who are only working to pay off their medical school loans. Doctors are frequently smart people and the job can be demanding and depressing sometimes. They could take other jobs with similar salaries.

        Doctors in the US make about the same increased multiple of salary (2-3 times) as health care costs in the US compared with the rest of the world.

        • myiq2xu says:

          I’d like to see some data on the number of doctors leaving the profession to take high-paying jobs elsewhere.

          Where are they going and how much are they making?

        • DandyTiger says:

          Being a DR can be pretty lucrative. And if they get cynical and don’t like what they’re doing, they can always cash in and do the plastic surgery crap.

        • yttik says:

          “We don’t have a shortage of doctors because of low pay.”

          Actually we do. I have some doctors in the family who have come out of medical school with over a million dollars in school loans. Then when they set up practice they have to purchase huge malpractice insurance policies. You can earn 10 grand a month but if 8 grand is going towards the expenses of just trying to be a doctor, you aren’t putting much money in your pocket.

          Also, our hospital administrators make three times what our top surgeon makes.

          My SIL keeps telling me she wishes she’d become a plumber.

        • 1539days says:

          Maybe. But then you have to tell doctors they’re not a six-figure income profession anymore.

        • yttik says:

          “So if we did something about the high cost of medical school and malpractice insurance, they wouldn’t have a problem?”

          Yes, but we also have to do something about insurance companies and Obamacare, too. Insurance companies dictate what doctors can charge. So does medicaid/medicare. Obamacare then mandates that they charge these same fixed rates to cash paying customers. So doctors are completely losing their ability to charge what they need to charge to stay in business.

          Malpractice insurance increases for doctors that deliver babies in my state, caused all six of our local baby doctors to pack up and leave. It was around 250 grand a year. If you’re a rural doctor, that’s pretty much your whole income.

        • Jadzia says:

          Do doctors (well, at least GPs and ob/gyns) net six figures anymore, after the cost of those huge student loans, malpractice insurance and, if they are in private practice, employing large numbers of staff just to deal with health insurance forms? My OB drove me to the hospital directly from her office last fall (long story) and I was shocked to see that she drove a crappy beater that looked to be at least 15 years old. She’s not just out of medical school either–she’s about 45, has a husband with a job, and only has 2 kids.

  3. I’m sure the OWS people will be protesting this obvious bait and switch any moment now. I’m sure in the end they won’t all magically be for Obama somehow, no.

    Obamacare is far worse than the crap we had before it. Now that’s fucking sad.

  4. Mary says:

    One of the ironies of this choice—Sebellius abandoning—-is that the CLASS portion of Obamacare was a large part of the administration claiming “savings” in the bill at all.

    In fact, CLASS was supposed to provide $86 billion in “savings” for the entire plan, giving them the ability to say—at the time—that it all “balanced” and was all “paid for.”

    Reckon they knew from the beginning, that it wouldn’t work, and just used the idea to get Obamacare passed ?

  5. SHV says:

    “Two things have to happen with health care for costs to go down”
    In addition, ~25-30% of health care dollars funneled through the insurance industry goes toward “overhead”. This includes all of the money spent by providers to submit all of the forms, insurance company overhead, profits, and billion dollar compensation packages for the big company CEOs.

    A subject that I haven’t seen discussed is, what happens to insurance premiums if a large part the 50%+ of health care that is now “govt” is privatized. Right now , the demographics that are high insurance risks, ie, elderly, poor, etc. are not in the insurance pool. If these groups are added to the private insurance pool, premiums will go out of sight. I suspect that actuaries have estimated the numbers but no one is talking. The Rethug idea that Medicare should be replaced with vouchers is insane.

  6. Lola-at-Large says:

    Here’s my immediate question. Can they do that? It’s law. They voted on it, and he signed it. Don’t they have to un-legislate it then? I don’t know about you, but I don’t recall the “Oops, my Bad” clause in the Constitution that allows a sitting president to redesign laws as he sees fit. Imagine if Bush did something like this, right?

    • 1539days says:

      One thing about Romney being the grandfather of Obamacare is that he seems to know how to dismantle it. He said if he’s elected he would grant everyone waivers for everything.

  7. Three Wickets says:

    ACA has $500 billion in medicare cuts over 10 years. Deficit super committee wants $240 billion more in medicare cuts. Why should we be surprised there are implications from the cuts. Not sure if Ryancare had a private solution for long-term care…can’t imagine the high premiums if it did.

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