Tag Archives: Medicare Advantage

Privatize #Medicare? The success of Medicare Advantage (Part C)

Health care economist John C. Goodman writes:

Paul Ryan proposed a private health insurance alternative to Medicare for future retirees, liberal critics pounced. It’s another scheme to undermine health care for the elderly by “privatizing” and “voucher-izing” the program, they said.

Yet, almost one third of seniors are already in private health insurance plans. They are called Medicare Part C, or Medicare Advantage, plans. And you would be hard pressed to find any Democratic office holder who wants to abolish them. The reason? Seniors choose to be in these plans because they like them better than traditional Medicare.

Read more: Let’s Privatize Medicare – John C. Goodman.

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Drug Rationing for Seniors on Medicare?

David Catron in the American Spectator:

Buried beneath the avalanche of recent news reports about the latest Obamacare-mandated funding cuts to the Medicare Advantage (MA) program is a related but far more disturbing story — the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has taken a major step toward rationing medications to the elderly. Since passage of the Medicare Modernization Act of 2003, seniors enrolled in the Medicare prescription drug program have been guaranteed access to “all or substantially all” of the drugs in several classes of pharmaceuticals. President Obama’s health care bureaucrats, however, have proposed removing three of these classes from the “protected” list. …

Even some left-leaning media outlets are uncomfortable with the Obama administration’s rationing policy.  …

It’s a little disorienting to find such an objective view in a publication that normally repeats Obama administration talking points verbatim, but there it is. Presumably, this departure from partisanship is an indication of just how far CMS has over-reached this time.

More: Drug Rationing for Seniors Begins | The American Spectator.

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Top Obama Advisers Proposed Voucherizing Medicare Way Back in…2010?

At Forbes, Avik Roy writes:

Last week, I noted the strange fact that President Obama—and his top advisers—decry the Romney-Ryan plan for Medicare reform, because it incorporates the concept of “premium support,” while applying the same principles to 25 million low-income Americans under Obamacare. Thus far, the Obama campaign has been unable to account for this inconsistency. Well, on Monday, we learned that a top Obama health-care adviser in 2010 actually proposed going around Congress to voucherize Medicare, in his words. It’s time for President Obama to own up. Either the Romney-Ryan plan is sound, or Obama’s campaign is being dishonest.

Read more: Top Obama Advisers Proposed Voucherizing Medicare Way Back in…2010? – Forbes.

Via Grace-Marie Turner.

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Ryan Medicare drama more hype than reality

In the USA Today, John C. Goodman writes:

Surprisingly, theres very little difference between the two plans. [Paul Ryan’s & Pres. Obama’s] There is no important difference in Medicare spending — even when the estimates of the presidents budget are made by his own Office of Management and Budget and the costs of the Ryan plan are projected by Ryan himself.Based on what we know, the difference is in how the spending targets are achieved. And even there similarities abound.

Goodman concludes:

The White House and Ryan Medicare budgets don’t differ that much. What does differ is their approach. The president’s approach is inflexible. Ryan’s approach has the advantage of making the cuts less painful by allowing market-based reforms instead of suppressing provider fees.

via Ryan Medicare drama more hype than reality – USATODAY.com.

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Obama Admistration plays politics with Medicare Advantage by delaying cuts

Former Denver Post columnist David Harsanyi writes:

If the Obama administration expended as much creative energy saving taxpayers money as it does obscuring the costs of Obamacare, we’d probably have a program worth saving.

But from day one, the health care law has been larded with double-counting gimmickry to conceal its $1 trillion price tag. It started by measuring eight years of services against 10 years of taxes, and it has continued with an avalanche of waivers that shield friends of the White House from the cost of the very law they helped pass.

We now have another unsavory example of how government-controlled health means politicized health care.

For about 12 million Medicare beneficiaries, private insurance plans lower costs and drive up quality. If the law had been followed as written, Obamacare should have slashed the popular market-oriented Medicare Advantage program this year. The cuts are needed to divert funding to a Medicaid expansion that will provide coverage to millions of uninsured — the central case for the creation of Obamacare.

It’s no surprise that Medicare’s most market-focused program pushes down premiums and enrollment up. So rather than allow millions of enrollees in vital swing states, such as Florida, to experience a major benefit cut right before an election, the administration founded an $8.5 billion pilot program.

Read the rest of the article: Obamacare’s Newest Fraud at Reason.com.

David Hogberg also comments at the Investors Business Daily:

If it walks like a political program, and talks like a political program …

The problem is that 12 million Medicare beneficiaries, most of them seniors, are in MA plans, and cutting them could prove very unpopular. The last thing Obama needs right now is millions of angry seniors showing up at the polls in November. …

As Capital Hill has pointed out before, most of the ObamaCare cuts to Medicare are unlikely to occur because of the potent political forces that will array against them. The recent GAO report is just more evidence of that.

For more on this, see Peter Suderman’s recent posts on why the Obama Administration opposes Medicare overpayments to private insurers except when it doesn’t, and on Elizabeth Warren and the medical device tax.

Read more: The Most Expensive Demonstration Project In Medicare History.

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State regulations force insurers out of market, Obamacare will make it worse

From Grace-Marie Turner at the Galen Institute:

Health plans across the country are leaving the small group and individual health insurance markets, forcing people to find other sources of coverage. In this paper, we provide examples of how millions of people in dozens of states already are being negatively impacted by the law — from New York to Colorado, Virginia to Florida, and Connecticut to Indiana.

The paper provides an overview of carriers leaving the market; the impact of Obama administration rules on the child-only health insurance market; the disruptions caused by rules governing health premium payouts and “grandfathering;” and the threats to the Medicare Advantage market. …

Some insurance carriers are leaving the market because of onerous state regulations, others are victims of a faltering economy, but the cascade has been accelerated by the rules that already have taken effect and the many more that are to come as a result of ObamaCare [HR 3590].

Read more: A Radical Restructuring of Health Insurance, by Grace-Marie Turner Galen Institute.

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The 12 Worst Features Of ObamaCare

David Hogberg lists the 12 Worst Features of ObamaCare [HR 3590]. They include:

2. [T]he “Basic Health Plan,” what Greg Scandlen called “sort of a ‘public option’ in sheep’s clothing.” …

3. Waivers. Section 2711 waivers enable the health plans of businesses, labor unions and other groups to avoid having to comply with ObamaCare’s regulations, lest their members lose “the insurance they like.” The Department of Health and Human Services has granted 1,040 waivers in about six months. Naturally, a disproportionate share of those receiving waivers are unions, some of Obama’s biggest political allies.

4. More Waivers? State governments are now asking for waivers from ObamaCare’s medical-loss-ratio regulations. At present, Maine has received a waiver, Kentucky, Nevada and New Hampshire have applied, and 11 other states are preparing applications. …

5. Insurers Have Left The Child-Only Market.

6. Medicaid — Ouch! ObamaCare requires all states to expand their Medicaid program to 133% of the federal poverty level. Presently only eight states and Washington, D.C. make eligibility limits that generous. That expansion is expected to cost states at least an additional $118 billion through 2023. …

9. Cost Estimates Not Correct. An analysis by Medicare chief actuary Richard Foster showed that ObamaCare would not reduce overall health care costs …

10. Who Needs Evidence? Two of the new health care financing “models” pushed by ObamaCare are medical homes and Accountable Care Organizations. Yet there is very little research showing the medical homes are a cost-effective way of delivering care (and some research that they aren’t.) …

11. CLASS-less. ObamaCare included Community Living Assistance Services and Support Act.  … [i]t is not sustainable. Even Sebelius has admitted as much.

12. Physician-Owned Specialty Hospitals. A major source of innovation in health care, physician-owned specialty hospitals had long been a target of the Big Hospital Lobby — the American Hospital Association and the Federation of American Hospitals — which doesn’t like competition. ObamaCare effectively prevents new physician-owned specialty hospitals from opening and makes it near impossible for existing ones to expand.

Read the whole article: The 12 Worst Features Of ObamaCare.

via FIRM.

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