Originally published August 10 2012
Drug scarcity hits Medicaid as states limit spending
by J. D. Heyes
(NaturalNews) When it comes to getting some honesty from the Obama Administration regarding the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare), a good rule of thumb is to believe the opposite of what the president and his echo chamber have to say about it.
Since before this monstrosity was passed, astute researchers pouring over the more than 2,100 pages of regulations and provisions contained in the bill (apparently they didn't take Nancy Pelosi's advice to wait until the bill was passed to see what was actually in it) made certain claims about it that were refuted by the administration - all of which, so far, have turned out to be true.
Opponents of the measure said it cuts Medicare spending. The administration said it didn't.
Opponents of the measure said it would raise taxes by billions of dollars. The administration said it didn't.
Opponents of the measure said it would raise insurance premiums. The administration said it wouldn't.
It does - by an average of $2,100 per household per year.
President Obama said repeatedly that "if you like your current health insurance, you'll get to keep it."
Now we are finding out that scores of employers will be dropping employee coverage because - you guessed it - the law creates an increase in insurance rates.
And perhaps the most controversial of the opposition's objections/predictions is that the measure would lead to healthcare rationing. The administration vehemently denied this allegation.
Well, it turns out that the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) has led to rationing - already. And the major provisions of the law haven't even kicked in yet.
Well, we passed the law - now what?
According to Kaiser Health News, 16 states have already set limits on the number of prescription medications they will cover for Medicaid patients. Illinois, the president's home state, was the latest to impose prescription drug caps for Medicaid patients: four. Alabama has an even tighter limit: one.
"Doctors fear the state's cost-cutting move could backfire on patients, who have to get state permission to go beyond the limit," said KHN.
And this law from an administration and a Democratic Party that claim to be "champions of the poor."
For the record, Medicaid is a federally mandated program that is carried out and funded, in part, by the states.
"It forms an important element of President Barack Obama's healthcare plan because under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act...a larger number of people will be covered by Medicaid, as the income cap is raised for the program," reported CNSNews.com, explaining why that aspect of the law is crucial to so many (new) Medicaid recipients.
The fact that the federal government mandates it does not mean the states have to accept it or participate in it. In fact, that's about the only positive thing critics of the healthcare reform law gleaned from the U.S. Supreme Court's ruling on the constitutionality of Obamacare: in shoring up the Commerce Clause, the majority of justices said the law could not require states to increase funding of Medicaid to account for increased participation. They could opt out if they wanted to.
And so far, many governors have said they would. Of those that remain, a number of them are simply curbing Medicaid benefits when and where they can.
Justifying the indefensible
Some analysts have attempted to explain away this early rationing.
"Drugs make up a fair amount of costs for Medicaid. A lot of states have said a lot of drugs are available in generics where they cost less, so they see this sort of another move to push patients to take generics instead of brand," Phil Galewitz, staff writer for Kaiser Health News, said recently on C-SPAN's Washington Journal program.
"It only hurts a limited number of patients, 'cause obviously it hurts patients who are taking multiple brand name drugs in the case of Alabama, Illinois. Some of the states are putting the limits on all drugs. It's another place to cut. It doesn't hurt everybody, but it could hurt some."
Remember, the law is only two years old. Most of it has yet to be implemented. And already we're seeing the negative effects we were warned about prior to its passage.
Add to this recent predictions that there will be shortages of primary care physicians because of the tens of millions of new patients who are going to be loaded onto health insurance rolls (private and government) because we all have to have it now, and we're developing quite a healthcare crisis in America.
But hey, we were told this law would make everything "better."
When will we learn that every time Washington gets bitten by the "Good Idea Fairy," the country gets an infection?
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