Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Foster Says Employer Coverage to Drop 17 million


Richard Foster is back in the news. He was Medicare's chief actuary during the Bush Prescription Drug. CMS Chief Tom Scully silenced Foster over his cost estimates. NY Times reported in 2004:

Mr. Scully threatened to fire the agency's chief actuary, Richard Foster, if he released estimates to Congress showing that the bill could cost as much as 50 percent more than the White House had let on.

Scully went on to bigger and better things, lobbying for Alston & Bird and senior partner with private equity underwriter (PEU) Welsh, Carson, Anderson & Stowe. Richard Foster remained a loyal public servant, having survived his public dressing down by for-profit healthcare shill Rep. Bill Thomas (now retired).

Foster made the news again, albeit in very small print on back pages. The Cleveland Plain Dealer noted:

17 million workers who have (workplace) coverage would leave their company health plans. Some would decide to enroll in a different plan with lower premiums -- thanks to federal subsidies they could get -- or to enroll in an expanded version of Medicaid if their incomes are low enough.

Others, working for small companies, could be forced to switch because their employers drop coverage. Penalties for dropping insurance would be "very low" for these employers compared with the cost of providing insurance, Foster said.

Whatever their reasons, this would result in a net reduction of 5 million Americans who now get employer-provided coverage, Foster found.

Actually the net reduction would be 176.3 million - 168.4 million or 7.9 million Americans. That's 3 million more without workplace coverage.

The burden will shift from employers to government or the individual. As Uncle Sam is tapped out, expect most of that to land in the citizen's lap.

This is the plan, not some quirky afterthought. Soon America will party like it's 1999. Employers can celebrate when they ditch that pesky health insurance benefit.

President Obama said his criteria had been met and encouraged Congress to act on the bill. He said America was "on the precipice." For some it will be a long fall, with four years before help arrives.

1 comment:

Courtney McCutchen said...

Uggh. Quite a price to pay for political games.