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Archive for August 5th, 2010

The sky is falling more slowly than previously thought

Posted by Charles II on August 5, 2010

The Medicare and Social Security Trustees came out with a report which will doubtless be universally ignored as Americans face such vital issues in the coming election as whether Bristol and Levi will actually get married and whether Chelsea and Mark spent too much on their wedding.

With caveats about the facts that the economy is uncertain and anticipated productivity gains are not actually real productivity gains until they happen, the Trustees say:

[In the short-term] The financial status of the HI [Hospital Insurance] trust fund is substantially improved by the lower expenditures and additional tax revenues instituted by the Affordable Care Act. These changes are estimated to postpone the exhaustion of HI trust fund assets from 2017 under the prior law to 2029 under current law and to 2028 under the alternative scenario….For the 75-year projection period, the HI actuarial deficit has decreased from 3.88 percent of taxable payroll, as shown in last year’s report, to 0.66 percent of taxable payroll, principally because the far-reaching effects of the Affordable Care Act reduce the actuarial deficit by 3.16 percent.

But Congress will still have to pony up to meet the shortfalls due to insurance company rapacity and gross inefficiency in care delivery.

The SMI [Supplemental Medical Insurance] trust fund [aka Part B (medical) and Part D (drugs)] is adequately financed over the next 10 years and beyond because premium and general revenue income for Parts B and D are reset each year to match expected costs. However, further Congressional overrides of scheduled physician fee reductions, together with an existing “hold-harmless” provision restricting premium increases for most beneficiaries, could jeopardize Part B solvency and require unusual measures to avoid asset depletion.

Translation: The Congress is still kidding itself about what it costs to keep a doctor in business.

Part B costs have been increasing rapidly, having averaged 8.3 percent annual growth over the last 5 years, and are likely to continue doing so. Under current law, an average annual growth rate of 4.8 percent is projected for the next 5 years….[In the long-term] Part B outlays were 1.5 percent of GDP in 2009 and are projected to grow to about 2.5 percent by 2084. These cost projections are [wildly] understated…

Insurance company rapacity has been extreme and so costs are likely to continue to outpace inflation even during deflationary times. Also, the Congress has got to stop kidding itself about the physician costs and insurance company greed, because over 75 years, the actual growth in Part B costs [which are paid by individuals through so-called supplemental insurance] is projected to be not to 2.5% of GDP but to 112% of GDP.

Part D outlays are estimated to increase from 0.4 percent of GDP in 2009 to about 1.8 percent by 2084. These outlay projections are slightly lower than those shown in last year’s report principally because of lower-than-expected spending in 2008 and 2009 as well as a reduction in the projected growth in prescription drug spending in the U.S. for the next 10 years.

Translation: The drug companies are, wink, nudge, much less rapacious than the insurance companies.

For some reason, the Democrats are bragging about this (I heard about this through a Baucus press release). My read is that basically the Great Healthcare Reform of ‘010 was a step in the right direction. Now all we need to do is nationalize the insurance companies.

Posted in health care, Medicare drug plan | 1 Comment »

Freepers Bringing The Stupid WRT Prop 8 Ruling

Posted by Phoenix Woman on August 5, 2010

Salon‘s Alex Pareene points out how the right wingers are losing their collective shit over Judge Vaughn Walker’s overturning of Prop 8:

After a dry Corner post from Daniel Foster excerpting the decision, Kathryn Jean Lopez popped in to be sad, and compare Judge Walker’s ruling to “an academic seminar at Berkeley.” (Oh, Berkeley! They simply do not understand America and their crazy ideas have no place in court rulings.)

One Freeper’s “solution”: pictures of guns, apparently.

What’s really funny is that the gun — an FN P90 — is a piece of junk — and a Belgian piece of junk at that. Per a Belgian commentator at Joe My God:

As a European I am so glad to see the freepers are buying our products. And from the French speaking corner of Belgium no less!

A famously inaccurate Frenchie gun known for it pathetically short barrel, getting overheated quickly and blowing all its load(ed ammo) really fast… a perfect match for a freeper hothead.

In fact, cant we get these guys buy ALL our guns? I certainly would feel a lot safer, and lets be honest, aren’t we all a little disappointed when right wing nuts like say the huttary don’t try an get in a shootout with the FBI but surrender peacefully?

Posted in eedjits, Flying Monkey Right, gay rights | 3 Comments »