Although he’s found that ObamaCare isn’t all it’s cracked up to be, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich (shown) doesn’t think it should be repealed outright — and, he added, neither do congressional Republicans, notwithstanding their rhetoric to the contrary.
“Even the best estimate for ObamaCare is that at a very high cost it is extending the number of people who are insured by a small number,” Gingrich said during an interview with USA Today’s Jayne O’Donnell at the World Health Care Congress in Washington, D.C., March 25.
Gingrich is correct. As The New American reported in January, the latest Congressional Budget Office projections have the federal government spending nearly $2 trillion over the next decade to insure fewer than half of uninsured Americans.
Moreover, as Gingrich pointed out, most of the increase in coverage has come about by “dramatically expand[ing] Medicaid,” which is an “easy short-term fix.”
“The problem then becomes,” he continued, “who’s going to pay for Medicaid.” (Answer: taxpayers until they are bled dry.)
Another problem with the expansion of Medicaid is that the program already pays well below doctors’ actual costs. That’s why, according to a survey by healthcare-staffing firm Merritt Hawkins, in 2013 only half of family doctors were accepting Medicaid patients. Adding even more people to the Medicaid rolls has only exacerbated the matter: A December report from the Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of Inspector General found that just half of physicians who accept Medicaid patients are taking new ones.
“Having insurance with no doctor may not be better than having a doctor with no insurance,” observed Gingrich.
The individual mandate, too, isn’t quite working as expected, he said, pointing to the fact that “a lot of people are paying the penalty rather than being in the mandate.”