Who’s Cutting Medicare?

This is the sort of thing that makes me crazy.

I spoke with an older woman for a while who will vote for Obama because she’s as much a radical feminist as any Catholic nun, although she was really concerned about the health care law. She believes Democrats cut Medicare, probably because conservatives and media spent two years telling her Democrats cut Medicare. I asked her if she had noticed any cuts in Medicare and she said “no” and then we just stood there looking at each other.

The ACA found ways to cut Medicare spending but not Medicare benefits. Mittens is on record as planning to shove seniors into the private insurance market with a “premium support” voucher that will not be allowed to increase as much as health care costs are expected to increase.

Another good read:

Tucker Carlson’s Downward Spiral

6 thoughts on “Who’s Cutting Medicare?

  1. I’m ever so happy that Tucker Swanson McNear Carlson has been spiraling down into the toilet – he deserves the very worst of fates.

    He started off wanting to be a Conservative version of Hunter S. Thompson, but ended up being a really bad, weak-ass P.J. O’Rourke wannabe, without any discernible talent whatsoever.

    And his website, “The Daily Caller,” whose title would better describe a “900” Gay sex line (not that there’s anything wrong with that…), is the equivalent of inter-tube dumpster-diving.
    How low can a person go?
    Tucker Swanson McNear Carlson may very well show the rest of us.

    It’s a terrible thing when a winner of ‘the lucky sperm meets lucky egg club,’ has a disasterous career.
    Sit back, get a cold beer, make some popcorn, and enjoy the downward spiral of “Mother-Tucker” Carlson.
    Dante, be prepared to create a new “Circle of Hell” – Media Division.

  2. When I saw a link to a story with the title—Levi Johnson knocks ups his new girl friend — and it lead to the Daily Caller, I kinda gathered that Tucker had reached the pinnacle of screech monkey (Malkin) journalism. He got my web hit..but it came at a price.

  3. I realize that this web site does not appear to be interested in facts but is designed simply as a way for a bunch of lefties to vent (which is your privilege) but:

    — Yes, PPACA cut a lot of benefits out of Medicare Part C by reducing the premium payment it gave certain seniors who choose an HMO or PPO form of Medicare over the very inefficient “Medicare as we know it” with its lousy benefits. You can argue that that was a good thing to do (because it was unfair to the FFS beneficiaries) or a bad thing to do (because preliminary indications say that the HMO or PPO approach provides better care) but there is no doubt that PPACA did it. In fact, the Obama administration brags about doing it — see Obama election brochure on Medicare put out this week. But there is also indication that the Obama administration must be worried about cutting Part C being a bad idea right before the election because it restored the premiums for this year only so that seniors aren’t hit with the big benefit drops right before election–see recent GAO report, I mean see the report, not left-wing news stories about the report)

    — The increase relative to health care cost inflation called for in the Wyden-Ryan premium support/voucher plan (we really don’t care what it’s called so get your rocks off) is the same as the increase already passed into law by Democrats in PPACA

    • Yes, PPACA cut a lot of benefits out of Medicare Part C by reducing the premium payment it gave certain seniors who choose an HMO or PPO form of Medicare over the very inefficient “Medicare as we know it” with its lousy benefits.

      Lie. Here is what actually happened. Medicare Part C, known as Medicare Advantage, was costing taxpayers more money for the same benefits as regular Medicare. In other words, Medicare Advantage was more inefficient than regular Medicare.

      Before the ACA, a Medicare Advantage benefit was costing the government 14 percent more than exactly the same benefit offered through regular Medicare. In some parts of the country, the difference is as high as 20 percent. That extra money was being eaten up in marketing and administrative costs, and in profits to the insurance companies.

      According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, all Medicare beneficiaries, including those not enrolled in Medicare Advantage, were paying for these overpayments through higher premiums. HHS said that in 2010 these subsidies added about $3.60 per month to premiums. REGULAR Medicare Premiums.

      The ACA provided that Medicare Advantage costs had to be brought into line with regular Medicare. It did not tell the private insurance companies administering Medicare Advantage how to do that. If the free market genuises in the private insurance companies can figure out a way to bring their costs in line without cutting benefits, they are free to do so.

      So, no Medicare benefits were cut by the ACA.

      See also:

      As it turns out, those cuts have made the program more competitive — over the last two years, Medicare Advantage premiums have fallen and enrollment has risen, according to the Department of Health and Human Services.

      You wrote:

      The increase relative to health care cost inflation called for in the Wyden-Ryan premium support/voucher plan (we really don’t care what it’s called so get your rocks off) is the same as the increase already passed into law by Democrats in PPACA

      I don’t remember specifically calling out Wyden-Ryan; a number of voucher plans have been floated in the past couple of years, and Mittens has made approving bleats about all of them. However, since you obviously have no idea what you are talking about, read and weap:

      Ryan-Wyden Medicare Plan “Would Likely Lead To The Gradual Demise Of Traditional Medicare.” According to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities: “The Ryan-Wyden plan would shift substantial costs to Medicare beneficiaries rather than protect them from cost increases, in part because the payment that beneficiaries would receive to help them buy coverage would likely fail to keep pace with health care costs. The plan also would likely lead to the gradual demise of traditional Medicare by making the pool of Medicare beneficiaries smaller, older, and sicker — and increasingly costly to cover.” [CBPP.org, 3/19/12]

      See also:

      Romney’s healthcare plan may be more revolutionary than Obama’s

      I don’t appreciate people who come by here, mindlessly vomit out some right-wing propaganda, and then accuse us of not dealing with facts. Son, you wouldn’t know a fact if it bit your ass.

      You get one chance to present a counter-argument, but it had better be well documented and linked to supporting material.

      Update: One more thing — “because preliminary indications say that the HMO or PPO approach provides better care” — I’m not sure what you’re trying to say here. Congress voted out the Medicare Advantage Fee for Service program while George W. Bush was still president. It was way inefficient. Are you just cutting and pasting stuff that you don’t really understand yourself? That’s what it looks like.

  4. (If you don’t like people explaining your errors, don’t post my comment. I provided sources in my initial comment. I repeat them below.)

    Sir or madam, you do not understand how Medicare Part C works. As I said, read the recent GAO report, not the Daily Kos’ article about the GAO report. (I know that your blog’s intent is simply to be uncivil and that’s your privilege.)

    The GAO report explains — and you can read this on many other official government sites as well — that the up to 15% premium paid by the government over and above the cost of traditional FFS Medicare in the given county specifically by law did not go to the insurers for administrative costs and profits — but to me, the Part C beneficiary. You can argue that it is unfair to give me that benefit and not give it to Medicare FFS beneficiaries but you cannot argue that the money goes to insurers. That is not true.

    Medicare Part C is not more inefficient because of this premium. The government paid more for it because it is much better insurance than “Medicare as we know it.” Medicare FFS insurance is terrible with no catastrophic coverage, up to $6000 a year in deductibles for admitted hospital visits, unlimited 20% co-pays for observed hospital visits as well as for outpatient treatments and doctor visits, no dental/vision/annual-physical/drug coverage and geographic restrictions (refer to the medicare.gov web site and particularly the document “Medicare and You”). Part C plans are required by law to use the premium they receive above the cost to cover an FFS beneficiary’s healt care to fix these problems in “Medicare as we know it” and/or lower Medicare beneficiaries’ out of pocket costs relative to “Medicare as we know it” (refer again to the GAO report or the description of Medicare Part C on medicare.gov).

    As for Medicare Part C becoming more popular last year, that’s because — as the GAO report explains very clearly — the Obama adminstration waived the requirements of PPACA related to cutting the premium given to us Part C subscribers and gave almost all Part C insurers (no matter the quality of their work) even more kickers in the form of what the Obama administration calls quality bonus points. But for this year only. So that seniors on Part C would not see their benefits cut right before the election.

    On your separate comment, unable to rebut my comment on your comment about the inflation mechanisms in Wyden/Ryan (that’s what Romney supports and that’s whay you claimed you were writing about) vs. PPACA, you now throw out a few inaccurate comments picked up from left wing web sites. The reason some analysts believe “Medicare as we know it” will wither under an seniors-have-a-choice approach like the Federal Employee Health Benefit Plan is because it is terrible insurance as I described above, not because of cost shifting. Cost shifting already happens. 92% of medicare beneficiares already choose a supplement on top of “Medicare as we know it” at great additional expense to most of these seniors. (see MedPAC data book, June 2011). And the Medicare bureaucracy has recruited 25,000 volunteers nationwide and put them in senior centers to help — among other things — the remaining 8% to also get off “Medicare as we know it.” (see recent HHS press releases concering the SHIP program).

    • dennis bryon — Sorry, there’s not a single link in your original comment. If you are going to make ridiculous claims, you have to link to the source and point to exactly what paragraph you’re talking about, because I don’t have time to hunt things down and then try to figure out exactly what passage is being twisted around in your brain to make it say what you think it says. You must know that I assume you are either brainwashed or hallucinating, or both.

      Yes, many Medicare Part C policies offer some gold-plated benefits such as for glasses and gym memberships not in regular Medicare, but the fact remains that taxpayers also were paying more for the same benefits that regular Medicare offers. And regular Medicare premiums were being diverted to help pay for Medicare Part C policies (link in my earlier comment), which was just wrong. And the funding cuts to Medicare Part C did not dictate to the private insurance companies how to make their policies cost less to taxpayers. It may be that some private insurance companies dropped some benefits to keep their policies affordable, but I don’t know for a fact that any of them did. Do you? And no benefits have been cut from regular Medicare, which was the point made in the post.

      Yes, cost shifting happens all over the place, but the several variations on the Ryan plan eventually would shift even more cost onto seniors than is true now. Your basic argument is that the current system isn’t perfect, so to fix it let’s screw it up even worse.

      I don’t have time to argue with whackjobs. Good bye.

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