Monday, October 21, 2013

The Coming Medi-Pocalypse: Rising Health Care Costs and Obamacare

Obamacare Astrological Chart
[T]his chart is frightening. The Sun-Moon-Saturn-Pluto grand cardinal cross is impossible to miss. The Sun and the Moon are long-accepted traditional indicators of health. Astrologers generally see Saturn and Pluto as the great malefics of the horoscope. Saturn hardens, constrains, and blocks those energies with which it interacts. Pluto causes them to undergo fundamental, often violent changes or even death. By this configuration alone, we might suspect an effective political revolutionary (especially with Uranus on the Sun) -- but we would be truly insane to trust this chart with our physical health.
I saw this warning article from Fox News (Bullet Points are direct quotes):
  1. Unfortunately, their current coverage fails to meet new requirements imposed under ObamaCare by federal bureaucrats. ... They’ll have to find another, ObamaCare-sanctioned plan that may restrict their access to certain treatments or force them to buy coverages they neither want nor need.
  2. To save costs, many plans on ObamaCare’s Exchanges are limiting physician networks. So if John chooses to keep his current insurance carrier, he may not be able to keep his current doctor.
  3. Third, ObamaCare places bureaucrats between doctors and patients. The law imposes new penalties on doctors who do “not satisfactorily submit data” that meet Washington bureaucrats’ standards.
  4. Fourth, ObamaCare dumps millions of patients onto Medicaid insurance card with limited access to real health care.
  5. Fifth, ObamaCare’s reductions in Medicare spending could undermine the health system for millions of seniors.
I've also seen that Obamacare will cost Medicare some 716bn over the 2013-2022 period. That's not good--right? It doesn't sound good. Right? Maybe. Here are two graphs:
Looking at these we can see that health care costs are going to be brutally amplified by present trends (this was 2009). Something has to be done to reign it in.

The question is what? What if it's Obamacare? That 716 billion dollars of money coming out of Medicare? It's by cost reduction.

In fact, of those 5 points that Fox is warning us about, three of them are directly related to health-care savings (with the possible effect of, yes, worse care). The question is this: Is this the right way to reduce health care costs? I have no idea. 

I do know this: if we are dealing with (a) a case where too many people have too many entitlements (a Republican claim) and (b) a case where the current trends of growth in health care costs will rise dramatically in the coming decades then the most likely outcome seems to me that some people are going to get worse service.

I just don't see anyway around it (well, there is one: charge everyone more for healthcare, including people who aren't likely to be using it--which the ACA does). 

What I do know is that there are allegations that the ACA lowers total medical costs radically:

2. My Line Is Lower than Your Line. Despite the hysteria on the left about the Bowles/Simpson, Rivlin/Ryan and the Domenici/Rivlin plans, the ObamaCare Medicare cuts are much harsher than any of these proposals. And most critics of these entitlement reform plans were enthusiastic supporters of ObamaCare.

Ignoring the political maxim to never get between an opponent’s gun and his foot, the new Paul Ryan budget manages to top even ObamaCare by roughly tracking the Affordable Care Act spending for the next decade and then allowing Medicare spending to grow no faster than the consumer price index.
It also might raise them--or destroy health care in the US altogether. I don't know--how would I? Who would I rightly believe in all this (the CBO is a good place to start but ... eh).

The End Game
Here's what I think I know for sure:
  • The horizon is pretty long. If we hit 10% GDP around 2042 our robot children might not be getting their Windows v50 updates or something. The Medipocalypse isn't right around the corner.
  • The implementation of the web-site, while a bad sign, isn't destiny. I think the right is placing too much emphasis on the roll-out and too little on trying to have competing ideas (there are some--but things like tort reform are marginal players in the big picture--and what exists needs to be much better marketed).
  • The idea of covering "everyone" or making it so insurance policies can't drop you--or leaving kids on their parent's plans until they are 26 are good ones in a vacuum: I support them so long as they won't blow up the country. I don't think that "health care is a right" the way free speech is a right--but I do think that it's something a first-world society ought to be able to provide its people. I look out at the desolate wastelands of Canada and Britain where gangs of roving mutant chavs engage in endless cannibalistic 'football riots' (and they use a soccer ball--what's wrong with those guys) and I think ... could we be headed that way? Their burning, pestilence-ridden cities are a warning to us all--but somehow ... the specter of their collapse doesn't convince me the US couldn't survive such a thing.
Transiting Uranus is conjunct Mercury: a sudden surprise announcement. Transiting Jupiter is crossing the the Ascendant, breathing new life to the monster. Transiting retrograde Saturn trines the Ascendant and Moon: a pullback which will help keep the law from imploding too quickly. Transiting retrograde Chiron is conjunct the natal Tenth House Jupiter: repairs or adjustments regarding publicity. Pallas, ever important for anything involving ethical or strategic considerations, receives a square from the progressed Moon, a trine from transiting Mercury, and a quincunx from transiting Mars. Mercury with Pallas is a libertarian factor, in this case a temporary loosening of the force of the bill.

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