Saturday, March 24 , 2018, 1:10 pm | A Few Clouds 60º


Abel Maldonado: Capps-Supported Health-Care Bill a Bad Deal for Seniors, Families, Small Businesses

Affordable Care Act cuts Medicare, raises plan costs, jeopardizes access for seniors and sacrifices American jobs

“Medicare is now stronger because of the Affordable Care Act that I helped write and voted for.”Rep. Lois Capps, D-Santa Barbara, in Noozhawk, Oct. 15, 2012

Abel Maldonado
Abel Maldonado

» Fact: In an interview with ABC News’ Jake Tapper, President Barack Obama acknowledged that one-third of the funding for the so-called Affordable Care Act comes from cuts to Medicare.

» Fact: In an interview on CBS’ Face the Nation, the president’s deputy campaign manager characterized it as “$700 billion in cuts to Medicare.”

» Fact: The Department of Health and Human Services, the very agency responsible for administering the Affordable Care Act, has warned that cuts to Medicare are “unrealistic and unsustainable.”

» Fact: HHS has said that the Affordable Care Act falls short of the goal of controlling runaway costs and that Medicare cuts “possibly jeopardize access” to care for seniors.

As reported by the Associated Press: “In addition to flagging provider cuts as potentially unsustainable, the report [HHS] projected that reductions in payments to private Medicare Advantage plans would trigger an exodus from the popular alternative. Enrollment would plummet by about 50 percent. Seniors leaving the private plans would still have health insurance under traditional Medicare, but many might face higher out-of-pocket costs.”

» Fact: Medicare’s chief actuary, Richard Foster, has warned that one in six hospitals and nursing homes will go into the red.

As detailed by the Washington Post: “‘It is doubtful that many [hospitals and other health-care providers] will be able to improve their own productivity to the degree’ necessary to accommodate the cuts, Medicare actuary Richard S. Foster has written. ‘Thus, providers for whom Medicare constitutes a substantial portion of their business could find it difficult to remain profitable, and, absent legislative intervention, might end their participation in the program (possibly jeopardizing care for beneficiaries). [Our] simulations ... suggest that roughly 15 percent of [hospitalization] providers would become unprofitable within the 10-year projection as a result of the [spending cuts].’”

In 2010, Rep. Lois Capps, D-Santa Barbara, said that seniors who already have Medicare “will have better benefits ... .”

» Fact: The person responsible for administering Medicare testified before Congress that at least 7 million Medicare recipients will have to find other coverage.

Remember the promise, if you like your plan you can keep it?

Well, the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office issued a report saying that under Washington’s health-care plan that at least 3 million to 5 million people (possibly as much as 20 million) could be forced from their employer-based plan to government-run programs.

» Fact: Since 2009, family health premiums have increased by 24.2 percent. Just last year alone, single coverage premiums increased by 3 percent while family coverage premiums escalated by 4 percent. The rise in health-care premiums has easily outpaced inflation and workers’ raises.

The Washington Post’s Fact Checker wrote, “But the bad news is that, on average, premiums almost certainly will go up — with some people really getting hit with increases.”

The sobering truth is that the damage done by the plan Capps helped write won’t be contained to just seniors and families.

The Los Angeles Times reported that Washington’s health-care law “may be a catalyst for new forms of outsourcing.”

“‘I think it’s very likely we’ll see outsourcing grow,” said Joanne Spetz, professor at the Philip R. Lee Institute for Health Policy Studies and Center for the Health Professions at UC San Francisco.

A medical device manufacturer in Indiana canceled plans to open five new manufacturing plants because of the medical device tax included in Capps’ bill. This is a company that employs more than 10,000 people worldwide, and Capps’ tax forced it to change its focus to its growth overseas. The frightening thing is we have a medical device manufacturer in California’s 24th Congressional District — in Santa Maria. How long until it thinks about moving jobs and operations overseas?

This tax alone could result in 43,000 jobs being shipped overseas beginning as early as next year.

In 2,700 pages, Capps wrote a bill that raids Medicare with “unrealistic and unsustainable” cuts, threatens the viability of Medicare Advantage, puts 1 in 6 hospitals and nursing homes in the red, takes 7 million seniors off Medicare completely while health-care costs rise and businesses coping with the new taxes from this bill ship American jobs overseas.

In the face of all these facts, it’s understandable why Capps would rather spend her time demagoguing a proposal that isn’t even law — but for the sake of the people and small businesses impacted by the current law, it might be more productive for her to instead spend her time explaining the bill that she helped write.

— Abel Maldonado, R-Santa Maria, is a former mayor of Santa Maria and is running to represent California’s 24th Congressional District.

  • Ask
  • Vote
  • Investigate
  • Answer

Noozhawk Asks: What’s Your Question?

Welcome to Noozhawk Asks, a new feature in which you ask the questions, you help decide what Noozhawk investigates, and you work with us to find the answers.

Here’s how it works: You share your questions with us in the nearby box. In some cases, we may work with you to find the answers. In others, we may ask you to vote on your top choices to help us narrow the scope. And we’ll be regularly asking you for your feedback on a specific issue or topic.

We also expect to work together with the reader who asked the winning questions to find the answer together. Noozhawk’s objective is to come at questions from a place of curiosity and openness, and we believe a transparent collaboration is the key to achieve it.

The results of our investigation will be published here in this Noozhawk Asks section. Once or twice a month, we plan to do a review of what was asked and answered.

Thanks for asking!

Click here to get started >

Support Noozhawk Today

You are an important ally in our mission to deliver clear, objective, high-quality professional news reporting for Santa Barbara, Goleta and the rest of Santa Barbara County. Join the Hawks Club today to help keep Noozhawk soaring.

We offer four membership levels: $5 a month, $10 a month, $25 a month or $1 a week. Payments can be made through PayPal below, or click here for information on recurring credit-card payments.

Thank you for your vital support.

Reader Comments

Noozhawk is no longer accepting reader comments on our articles. Click here for the announcement. Readers are instead invited to submit letters to the editor by emailing them to [email protected]. Please provide your full name and community, as well as contact information for verification purposes only.

Daily Noozhawk

Subscribe to Noozhawk's A.M. Report, our free e-Bulletin sent out every day at 4:15 a.m. with Noozhawk's top stories, hand-picked by the editors.

Sign Up Now >