April 23, 2010

New Studies Predict Health Care Costs, Penalties

Crapo says reports make case to repeal and replace legislation

Washington, D.C. - New reviews from non-partisan government and Congressional experts now predict the recently-enacted health care law will increase costs and penalties for consumers, and will fail to reduce the skyrocketing cost of health care. Idaho Senator Mike Crapo, who tried to amend the measure to eliminate the bill's middle-class tax increases, said these studies prove what a majority of Americans have been saying throughout the debate: that premiums and taxes would increase for many Americans. Crapo said the focus should now turn to repealing and replacing the legislation with common-sense reforms that lower costs and increase quality and access to care.

One report, from the Chief Actuary of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, says the new law will fail on two counts-both in capping exploding health care costs, and by increasing costs and premiums for consumers. It points to anticipated cuts in Medicare that the study said could drive 15 percent of health care providers out of the health care business, driving up costs and threatening access for senior citizens, particularly in rural areas.

"When we look at spending upwards of a trillion dollars for a plan that unbiased experts now say will raise costs, raise taxes and penalties and potentially boot seniors from health services, it is crystal clear that we need to be focused on repealing and replacing this measure, " Crapo said. "The Congressional Budget Office now also reports that four million people may be penalized for not carrying insurance. Those penalties, enforced by the Internal Revenue Service, will affect mostly people making under $59,000 a year. Remember, there had been promises that there would be no new taxes for middle-class Americans and that you could keep the coverage you have. These independent studies prove that is just not the case."

As a member of the Senate Finance Committee, Crapo's effort to stop middle-class tax increases was defeated, both in Committee and on the Senate floor. He also decried the move to cut in half the access for seniors to the popular Medicare Advantage program and turn the savings over to create a new entitlement program.

"The new taxes and resulting premium increases under this law means that many employers will drop coverage for their workers," Crapo added. "There is no better time to begin planning the repeal of this measure than now-before some of these problems hit Idaho's seniors, middle-income families and the Idaho economy."