Master of Jurisprudence in Indian Law - University of Tulsa College of Law
ads@blueearthmarketing.com   712.224.5420

Health | Opinion
Sen. Murkowski: Health care reform law filled with problems


Ed. Note: Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) is a member of the Senate Indian Affairs Committee. She was a co-sponsor of the Indian Health Care Improvement Act, which was signed into law a part of the national health care reform bill.

"Throughout the year-long debate over health care reform, President Obama promised that the legislation would reduce the spiraling cost of health care and that if you liked your health care plan, you could keep it. But a couple of new government reports confirm what many of us who opposed a federal takeover of the health care system feared all along -- higher costs, less access and unsustainable spending.

According to Rick Foster, the chief actuary of the administration's own Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), President Obama's new health care reform law will actually increase national health care spending by $311 billion over the next 10 years. Foster's report also said that about 14 million people would lose their employer coverage by 2019, largely as a result of small employers terminating coverage and workers who currently have employer coverage enrolling in Medicaid.

There are a lot of things wrong with the health care law, starting with the half-trillion dollars in new taxes and the $529 billion in Medicare cuts. The CMS report warns that those whopping Medicare cuts may not be realistic and sustainable, potentially driving 15 percent of all hospitals, nursing homes and similar providers into the red within 10 years. Providers that depend on Medicare for a substantial part of their business could be forced to drop out of the program, "possibly jeopardizing access to care" for senior citizens, according to the CMS report.

The situation in Alaska is particularly dire. In March 2009, the Institute for Social and Economic Research at the University of Alaska (ISER) reported that 13 out of 75 primary care physicians in Anchorage were accepting new Medicare patients. Just 15 months later, that number has dropped to the single digits. Further cuts to Medicare will only worsen the situation for the most vulnerable Alaskans -- seniors and the disabled."

Get the Story:
Sen. Lisa Murkowski: Much is wrong with Obama's health care law (The Anchorage Daily News 6/1)

Indian Health Care Improvement Act:
S.1790 | H.R.2708

Related Stories:
IHCIA seeks to boost number of Indians in medical field (04/20)
Yvette Roubideaux: What health reform means for IHS (4/16)
Nevada tribes welcome Indian Health Care Improvement (04/02)
North Dakota tribes welcome Indian health care reform act (4/1)
Midwestern tribes hail permanent IHCIA reauthorization (3/30)
Sen. Tester: Health care reform is right for Indian Country (3/29)
South Dakota tribes upset by lawsuit over health care bill (3/26)
IHCIA finally passes as part of national health reform bill (3/22)
Dorgan cites 'major breakthrough' on Indian health (12/21)
Indian Health Care Improvement Act clears hurdle (12/04)
Opinion: Abortion debate poisons Indian health bill (12/04)
Indian Country waits for long-overdue health reform (12/2)
Full witness list for Senate hearing on Indian health (12/2)
Witness list for Senate hearing on Indian health issues (12/1)
Senate Indian Affairs meeting, hearing on Thursday (11/30)
Senate moves forward with health reform debate (11/23)
Senate Indian Affairs action on IHCIA postponed (11/19)
IHCIA passes House as part of health reform bill (11/9)
Rosebud President: Take action for Indian health (11/3)
Rep. Hastings objects to IHCIA in health reform bill (10/30)
House panel holds hearing on Indian health care (10/21)
Dorgan renews push for Indian health care bill (10/19)
Dorgan introduces updated version of health bill (10/15)
Dorgan readies 'streamlined' version of IHCIA (10/13)
Health reform bill includes tribal tax exemption (9/22)