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ObamaCare's reality: Perpetual flu

| Monday, Nov. 26, 2012, 8:56 p.m.

Now that ObamaCare likely will remain intact through Barack Obama's second term, here's just a glimpse of what's in store for Pennsylvanians:

• As stipulated under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, Medicaid eligibility will expand to an additional 800,000 Pennsylvanians — in effect, placing a quarter of the state's residents on government insurance, according to the Commonwealth Foundation. Never mind that Medicaid currently consumes 30 percent of the state's operating budget.

• Care will be tougher to find. Nationally, one-third of Medicaid providers will not take new patients, according to a report in the journal Health Affairs. ObamaCare tightens that noose substantially. The Association of Medical Colleges projects that the U.S. will face a shortage of almost 63,000 doctors in just three years under ObamaCare. And The Doctor's Company, a medical malpractice insurer, estimates that ObamaCare will motivate 43 percent of today's physicians to retire within five years.

• Insurance costs will increase. Highmark raised small-business rates by more than 50 percent in July 2010 and is requesting another 10 percent hike, Commonwealth reports. Nationally, costs are projected to grow by 7.4 percent in 2014, then continue to increase at a rate of 6.2 percent annually through 2021, according to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.

Once fully realized, ObamaCare will have all the appeal of a perpetual flu.

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