Let the Rationing Begin

“Tell me this isn’t a government-run operation.” Flight Director Gene Krantz, “Apollo 13”

According to CNS.com and Kaiser Health News, sixteen states have set a limit on the number of prescription drugs they will cover for Medicaid patients.  Seven of those states have enacted or tightened those limits in just the last two years.

“Medicaid, a federal program carried out in partnership with state governments, forms an important element because under Obamacare, a larger number of people will be covered by Medicaid, as the income cap is raised for the program.

“With both the expanded Medicaid program and the federal subsidy for health-care premiums that will be available to people earning up to 400 percent of the poverty level, a larger percentage of the population will be wholly or partially dependent on the government for their health care under Obamacare than are now.

“In Alabama, Medicaid patients are now limited to one brand-name drug; HIV and psychiatric drugs are excluded.  Illinois has limited Medicaid patients to just four prescription drugs as a cost-cutting move, and patients who need more than four must get permission from the state.”

Phil Galewitz, staff writer for Kaiser Health News, told C-SPAN’s Washington Journal that the move “only hurts a limited number of patients.  Drugs make up a fair amount of costs for Medicaid. A lot of states have said a lot of drugs are available in generics where they cost less, so they see this sort of another move to push patients to take generics instead of brand.”

“Arkansas, California, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Mississippi, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Utah and West Virginia have all placed caps on the number of prescription drugs Medicaid patients can get.”

Galewitz also said, “So it seems like Medicaid’s sort of been one big experiment over the last number of years for states to try to control costs, and it’s an ongoing battle, and I think drugs is just now one of the … latest issues. And it’s a relatively recent thing, only in the last 10 years have we really seen states put these limits on monthly drugs,” he added.

Weren’t rising premiums and bureaucratic insurance companies the reason we were urged to vote for Obama and Obamacare?  We think of Medicaid in its original form, health care for the poor.  With the unemployment rate at 15 percent (the real number), we’re becoming the poor and we’ll be forced into the Medicaid category.

The elderly, as they’re pushed out of Medicare, will be especially affected by the prescription drug rationing of only four prescription drugs.  Pundits have predicted that as states bear the Medicaid burden, they’ll be forced into severe financial straits, and at that point, the Federal government will take over.

There was a great article in the May 14th National Review by William Voegeli, entitled “Magic Accounting.”  Voegeli describes the trap Americans fell into with Social Security and Medicare, government entitlements to which workers felt entitled, since they were told they were paying for it themselves through their taxes.  He calculates that for someone born in 1965, earning a mid-range salary, had her Medicare withholding taxes been placed into an account that compounded annually at the inflation rate plus 2 percent interest, the account would be worth $87,000 by the time she retired in 2030 at age 65. But according to a report by the New York Times, he writes, “the government will then spend $275,000 on her medical care.”

Voegeli writes, “It was the liberal architects and defenders of the welfare state, not its conservative opponents, who created the myth that spawned the subsequent confusion.  Central to liberalism at high tide was a rhetorical effort to establish the untruth that Americans receiving social-insurance benefits were betting back nothing beyond what they had already paid for.”

“But the fulfillment of our social-insurance contracts has become a grave problem because the myth of social insurance cannot be reconciled with the reality, political and fiscal reality:  the value of social-insurance benefits is typically a multiple of the value of social-insurance taxes.”   In other words, the taxes a worker paid 40 years ago, having no capital investment (no interest, compounded or otherwise, as it would have been privately), cannot keep up with inflation or the inflated cost of health care.

In any case, the money isn’t even there; the government has already spent it.  Their only recourse to solving the deficit is to tax the next generation even further and increase taxes on those who have more money.

Yesterday, we talked about how the government wants to cut costs by reducing paperwork.  It is no coincidence that that is how they bankrupted hospitals and private doctors, through an increasingly paper-hungry bureaucracy that required hospitals and doctors to hire more paper pushers.  And today’s he’s bragged about the rebate checks he’s sent to citizens because the insurance companies charged them too much in administrative costs.  Well, guess whose fault that was?

Just as he’s pushing the blame for social bureaucracy off on insurance companies, he’s pushed the pill-dispensing off on the states. Woe to the state that rejects a grandmother’s request for an additional prescription.  But never fear – Obama is here.

A friend e-mailed me about how he and his wife returned from a meeting about health care.

“We were in a small health clinic where the doctors and health care nurses and councilors volunteer their time to treat people in need,” he says. “They don’t deal with insurance and are not regulated by government and they don’t ask for a lot of money.

“The meeting was not what we expected. They talked a little about how their facility works and it was the unanimous opinion that Obamacare must go.  But the rest of the meeting was about how the American Medical Association, the hospitals and the insurance industry are all woven together for their own benefit, to the extent that members of the board of directors of one organization also hold positions one or more of the others.”

Having worked in the insurance industry, that’s not surprising.  My company refused to sell health insurance in this state because of the corrupt bureaucracy.  Here in New Jersey, the governor is the nominal head of any insurance company that wants to do business here.

It would be interesting to see who these board members are, to learn about their history and politics.  Undoubtedly, radical socialists wormed their way onto these boards, and despite their aversion to capitalism, they are not above working their way up the corporate ladder to become board members in order to control companies.

Do you have a migraine headache, yet?  If you don’t, you will, and you won’t be able to get a prescription for it, either.

 

 

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Published in: on July 31, 2012 at 1:24 pm  Comments (1)  

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