Whistleblower: 6 Ways Romney's Healthcare Proposals Enrich Insurance Companies and Sicken Americans
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You would have more and more senior citizens showing up at the emergency room because they waited too long to take care of something. And those visits to the emergency room might not have even been necessary had they been able to go to the doctor earlier and be treated for something before it got to the point of being a huge problem.
If Romney wins and does what he says he's going to do, there will be another [Medicare-related] windfall for the insurance companies. You've heard him criticize the president for supposedly cutting the Medicare program by $700 billion, which is absolutely erroneous and disingenuous. What Romney says is he would restore that amount of money for the Medicare program, leading people to think that benefits are being proposed to be cut and he would restore those benefits. But it is absolutely not the case and he is misleading people so badly here and apparently people are buying into what he is saying.
That $700 billion is not cutting benefits at all. What it's doing is reducing payments over the next 10 years to hospitals and insurance companies in particular. Part of the savings would come from reducing the overpayments that the government is paying private insurance companies to participate in the Medicare Advantage program. And the hospitals bought into it because they realized, again, if you expand coverage -- that money would be used to expand coverage to more people -- the more people in the system the less bad debt you have.
The government has paid private insurers over the years more in excess payments just to keep those insurance companies in the game. I saw a study just recently that found that since 1985 private insurance companies have cost the Medicare program more than $280 billion in excess payments. And that's because the government, again, has been paying insurance companies a bonus to participate in the Medicare Advantage program. Obama is proposing to eliminate those overpayments, to reduce them and then eventually to eliminate them.
But if Romney were to undo that, if he were to restore that $700 billion, he would be wasting that money. But it would go right to the insurance companies.
Medicaid beneficiaries would also be very aversely affected under the Romney-Ryan plan. They would convert the program into a block-grant program in which the federal government would just hand over X amount of dollars to the states and say, "Here, it's yours, do with it as you want." The federal guidelines would disappear as to how the money could be spent. So you would have some states that would do a better job of providing coverage to their low-income populations than we currently have now. But it would be a tragic thing for a lot of people who live in states that just would not provide the same level of access to care they do now because of the federal requirements that exist today.
So it would be different from state to state and it probably would change from administration to administration as well. It probably would become a very unstable kind of program over the years. And it would certainly facilitate the privatization of Medicaid.
5. Provide Americans the Freedom to Go Without Health Insurance
Wendell Potter: First, a high percentage of the uninsured are young people. And they're uninsured not necessarily because they want to be uninsured and not necessarily because they consider themselves invincible, but because they simply don't have the money to buy coverage. Most young people are just starting out in their careers and they're in entry-level positions that don't pay a whole lot. Many of them are in service jobs that don't offer coverage or are having to work part-time and are just not eligible for coverage. So many, many young people are working but they don't have enough money to buy coverage or they're not working for large companies that offer them coverage.