The trajectory of Obamacare continues to turn toward the withholding of medical care and reduction of lifespans of Americans.
On Oct. 27 the Obama White House, through CMS Director Sir Donald Berwick, approved [gave a waiver to] the majority of potential deadly cuts to Medicaid in California which were requested by Gov. Jerry Brown; and the Administration is still considering, and likely to approve, more. The California Medicaid situation is the worst among scores of bad situations. The loss of some 10 million jobs since 2008—about which Obama has done nothing but repeatedly praise "the private sector"—has dumped millions onto Medicaid who used to have employer health insurance. And the brief Federal aid which lessened this crushing new state burden somewhat for 18 months, is now over. So states either have to spend more on Medicaid, or make life-threatening cuts. California is doing the latter on a large scale, with White House encouragement.
Brown asked for approval of $623 million in cuts to provider payments. The White House yesterday signed off on ca. $500 million, including: A 10% provider-payment reduction on a number of outpatient services, including physicians, clinics, optometry, therapy, laboratories, dental, durable medical equipment and pharmacy; a 10% provider-payment reduction for freestanding nursing and adult subacute facilities; a 10% provider-payment reduction and rate freeze for nursing facilities.
Brown also wants Medicaid beneficiaries to have to make $50 copays for each emergency department visit ("saving" $511 million) and limit each person on Medicaid to just seven doctor visits, of all kinds, per year. Brown's cuts total $1.45 billion; the rest which Obama is likely to approve "shortly."
"We are pleased that CMS has determined that these painful but necessary reductions comply with all federal access requirements," California Health Director Toby Douglas said in a news release.
Then there is the ominous fact, announced on Oct. 27 by CMS, that U.S. seniors are using "much less" medical care under Medicare, since Obamacare was made law. The announcement was that various Medicare premiums were rising less than expected for 2012. But the reason: CMS officials "attributed the lower premiums to seniors using less medical treatment than expected," reported the Washington Post. "'Today's announcement confirms a data trend of much lower utilization of medical services', said Jonathan Blum, deputy administrator at the CMS."