Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Republicans Dire Predictions about Doing away with the Expensive Medicare Advantage program not Happening.

The party that won over the electorate with confident sounding rhetoric is wrong again.

We’re in for a rocky two years if history tells us anything about how wrong Republicans have been about their ability to handle fiscal issues. Take health care reforms effects on Medicare:

Washington Post: One of the most significant savings envisioned in the new health- care law - limiting payments to the private health plans, Medicare Advantage, that cover 11 million older Americans under Medicare - is, so far, bringing little of the turbulence that the insurance industry and many Republicans predicted.

The savings is forecast to amount to $145 billion by the end of the decade.

Democrats argued successfully that the private plans were being overpaid and could withstand the changes. Republicans warned that such plans would raise prices, lower benefits or cause defections from the program, stranding the elderly people who rely on them.

Early clues to the actual effects have now materialized and the warnings of swift, serious damage to the program are not borne out. Fewer health plans are available for the coming year, but the decrease is largely for reasons unrelated to the new law. Premiums have not jumped substantially, and benefits have not tended to erode. Insurers' premiums for Medicare customers are, on average, rising by a smaller amount for 2011 than for this year and in 2009, according to Kaiser. And
widespread reductions in medical benefits have not occurred, federal health officials said.

Ooops! Reality is a bitch.
Obama's health-care aides say Medicare has become a large, entrenched enough share of many insurers' business they are unlikely to penalize elderly customers or drop out.
And while reform will save nearly $150 billion, the upside down/inside out Republicans want to do away with the savings and make that amount up by cutting spending someplace else. Huh???
One GOP House committee aide said Republicans would like to restore some or all of the cuts and has asked for budget estimates on ways to offset them - but acknowledged that the $145 billion in expected savings "is a lot of money" in a climate of large federal deficits. Still, the aide said, "however we can get to the point of where every senior, no matter where they live in the country, will have a choice, that's what we will work toward giving them."

The issue of not having enough choices is also not true:
Even after some plans left for 2011, people on Medicare still have, on average, a choice of two dozen plans in their community, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation, a nonpartisan health policy and research organization.

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  1. Why has the Obama Administration handed out 111 waivers?

    Seriously, inquiring minds want to know. If "Obamacare" is so great, why are businesses lobbying for waivers?

  2. If you were paying attention, you would have been aware of the Democratic Congress and Obama administration assurances that the law will need tweaking and adjustments along the way. In fact, change was expected and promoted with the legislation.

    Unless you thought reform was promoted as perfect lawmaking? Just wondering.