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Obama Is Cutting Medicare Advantage — Again!

From Reuters:

U.S. health insurers brace for new steep Medicare cuts

By Caroline Humer | February 20, 2014

NEW YORK (Reuters) - The U.S. government is expected to announce this week the proposed payment rates for insurer-run Medicare plans in 2015, but industry officials say the anticipated cuts will mean higher co-pays and fewer benefits for seniors.

Notice how the headline makes it sound like it is going to only impact insurers and not seniors. But, of course, this increase in costs will be passed on to them. But the low information types will only read the headline and move on.

In fact, there was a 6% cut last year. Which is only mentioned in passing in the middle of this article. And it got practically no coverage from the news media when it happened last year.

Of the more than 50 million older Americans who receive coverage through Medicare, about 15 million are enrolled in Medicare Advantage plans offered by companies such as UnitedHealth Group Inc, Humana Inc and Aetna Inc. The rest use Medicare fee-for-service programs, in which doctors are reimbursed by the government for patient visits and procedures…

Insurers are bracing for a proposed cut of around 6 to 7 percent when the government makes the information public in an announcement expected on Friday… Health insurance executives have been… saying they would have no choice but to pass on a significant part to seniors to keep their business intact.

They are so venal. (But maybe Obama can stop them with his pen and phone.)

Aetna, which has about 1 million Medicare Advantage members, said that to keep costs in line with cuts in recent years, it has changed its network of doctors and hospitals to be more cost-effective, among other efforts

Another possibility for insurers is eliminating plans and withdrawing from certain markets.

Though we were never allowed to know why they left the market. In fact, we were usually told it had nothing to do with Obama-Care.

Many did that last year after the government cut rates by nearly 6 percent…

So the cuts to Medicare Advantage will soon total 12%. Thank you, Obama!

"The concern is that a second consecutive 6 percent cut to the program will be devastating for seniors," said Robert Zirkelbach, spokesman for the healthcare industry’s key trade and lobbying group, America’s Health Insurance Plans. Their campaign has included TV, print and online advertising as well as a sign on Washington city buses, telling viewers that "Seniors are Watching" when it comes to Medicare Advantage benefits…

Too bad they weren’t watching in 2008 and 2012.

The announcement could put pressure on President Barack Obama’s administration as it defends its signature healthcare law, the Affordable Care Act, from attack ahead of the 2014 elections. Early technical failures hampered enrollment in insurance plans and new fees and healthcare taxes have gone into effect, providing Republican opponents of the law with ammunition to call for its delay…

Reuters is clearly more concerned about how all of this might hurt Obama and the Democrats in the 2012 midterms, than how it will hurt seniors. They hope the mean Republicans won’t be so low enough as to try to use this unfortunate development against Obama, too.

Of course, Reuters and the rest of the news media will help prevent that, by never mentioning these cuts again.

This article was posted by Steve Gilbert on Friday, February 21st, 2014. Comments are currently closed.

2 Responses to “Obama Is Cutting Medicare Advantage — Again!”

  1. captstubby

    Bush’s Budget Proposal Would Cut Medicare Spending
    Feb. 4 ,2008

    By Steven Reinberg
    HealthDay Reporter
    MONDAY, Feb. 4 (HealthDay News) — President Bush’s new budget proposal would cut $196 billion over five years from both Medicare and Medicaid — programs that provide health care to millions of poor and elderly, federal officials announced Monday.
    The proposed cuts are part of a plan to stop Medicare from running out of money in little more than a decade, Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) Mike Leavitt told reporters during a press conference. He said the savings would help keep premiums affordable, maintain the Medicare/Medicaid system, and balance the current Medicare budget.
    “The Medicare portion of the budget should be viewed as a stark warning,” Leavitt said. “Medicare on its current course is 11 years from going broke. Americans have become numbed to entitlement warnings as a repeated cycle of alarms and inaction,” he said.
    But President Bush and Leavitt are sure to face a Congressional showdown over the budget proposals.

    But at least one critic believes a shrinking Medicare budget would hurt consumers and the health-care system.
    “President Bush’s proposed cuts to Medicare would hurt older and disabled Americans

    http://www.npr.org/templates/s.....Id=5193554
    http://abcnews.go.com/Health/H.....id=4510329

  2. Geez, who’s gonna be left to pay the bills? A fraud gang from Cameroon?




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