ObamaCare throws Granny off a cliff
By: John Hayward
2/27/2014 10:18 AM
Jim Geraghty of National Review remembers when Democrats responded to sensible Medicare reforms by depicting House Budget chair Paul Ryan throwing an old lady off a cliff, and wonders if they’ll have the intellectual consistency to caricature HHS Secretary Kathleen “Whatever” Sebelius doing the same thing, since unlike Ryan she really did just implement massive cuts to a program for the elderly. Of course, he knows the answer to that challenge. I expect any senior citizen unhappy with the loss of home health care services to be called a stinking, filthy liar and puppet of the Koch Brothers by Harry Reid within hours of speaking up.
Not only will services to the elderly be cut by this move, but as Jim Angle of Fox News reports, it will end up killing hundreds of thousands of jobs. Advance warning: if you work in this industry, and your company folds up because of ObamaCare, Harry Reid will call you a stinking liar. People who lose their jobs because of ObamaCare are un-persons according to Democrat ideology, unless of course they can be portrayed as happy because now they get to live out their secret dreams at taxpayer expense. Really, it’s quite easy to love even the most disastrous and dishonest of Big Government programs, provided you completely ignore everything bad that happens because of it, and invent a few hypothetical virtues that make you feel good. In a similar vein, if you ignore all the withdrawals made from your bank account over the years, you’re practically a gosh-darn millionaire, so cheer up.
A number of America’s senior citizens could use some cheering up right about now:
Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius may recently have had her own embarrassing moment akin to President Obama’s promise that everyone could keep their health plan and their doctor, no matter what.
Discussing the impact of ObamaCare on jobs, she said last week in Orlando, “There is absolutely no evidence and every economist will tell you this, that there is any job loss related to the Affordable Care Act.”
But Sebelius herself, using discretion granted her by the Affordable Care Act, cut the maximum allowed by law from home health care funds. The cuts were deep enough that officials offered a damaging prediction of the impact saying, it was estimated that approximately 40 percent of providers would have negative margins.
And companies with negative margins don’t last long — or have to cut workers.
Everyone who works for the Obama Administration is probably reading that and wondering what the big deal is. Why, the organization they work for has been running “negative margins” for decades, really huge ones, and they’re getting along just fine. The city where their “business” is headquartered has become one of America’s richest during the Obama years!
Sorry to be the one to explain this to you, kids, but in the private sector, running a “negative margin” means you lose money and go out of business. The option of printing dollar bills in the basement is not available to private industry.
As Angle’s report explains, the home health care Sebelius is choking out can be both more convenient, more comfortable, and far more cost-effective than long-term residence in a care facility:
In fact, those cuts put in jeopardy 498,000 jobs of home health care workers who work just for that 40 percent of firms that will be forced into the red — the kind of home health workers who allow Yvonne Wightman, 98, to avoid expensive hospital or nursing home stays by getting care at home.
“If she fell like she has a few times,” says her daughter, Janet Connor, “typically you go to the ER, but because we can call a nurse to come, they can do the wound care here. Because she did have a fall, and it was a bad wound. We didn’t go anywhere we just had people come and dress it at home.”
Her mother also came down with pneumonia and was treated at home, but Janet needed help caring for her and turned to home health care workers, again avoiding expensive alternatives.
“Physical therapists and nurses were both here to assist me to get her to the potty and so forth,” says her daughter. “So I couldn’t have done it without help, but it was over in about a week, she was well. So she didn’t have to be hospitalized.”
How does all this grab you, seniors who voted Democrat in the last two elections? Is this what you thought you were voting for? Have you been enjoying the black comedy of panicked Democrats like Kay Hagan of North Carolina pretending to forget that they voted for Medicare cuts? You’re about to see an astonishing outbreak of amnesia among Democrats across the land. Just wait until they start pretending to be angry at Kathleen Sebelius for squeezing out home health care.
Geraghty wonders what Sebelius is thinking. I suspect he gets closer to the target as he drops each theory:
So what’s the administration’s angle here? They never met a dollar they didn’t want to spend, particularly in entitlements, so why are they suddenly putting the screws to the home health care industry, of all professions? Is it that the financial forecasts of Obamacare have been so wildly overoptimistic and unrealistic that they feel they’ve got to make a big-time cut somewhere to prevent their “bending the cost curve down” promise from becoming an even bigger joke? Or does the administration have something ideological against home health care? Is it that by having the health care provider coming to a person’s house, there’s not enough of a role for the government to intervene, manage, and meddle?
I’m sure everything will work out fine, once the geniuses who created Healthcare.gov have a chance to work their managerial magic on home health care.
The home care industry was thriving before ObamaCare came along. It’s the kind of decentralized, competitive, innovative approach we should be encouraging. There are problems large and small with a topic as huge as “health care,” which we would probably do better to discuss as several more specific but inter-related subjects, but of course the top-down heavy-handed ObamaCare approach does the opposite – tying things together until healthy young people are told they must pay insanely high premiums to support discounts for their considerably wealthier grandparents. A review of the past decade would suggest the money going into home care was exceptionally well-spent… so of course, it has to end.