Fact Check: Obamacare’s Medicare Cuts

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Since the Romney-Ryan campaign is hammering the Obama-Biden ticket on the Affordable Care Act’s $716 billion in cuts to Medicare, it seems useful to put this figure in context and explain exactly what programs within Medicare lose funding under the health care law.

First, the context. The Congressional Budget Office estimates Medicare spending over the next 10 years will be about $7.5 trillion. This means the ACA’s Medicare cuts account for less than 10% of overall Medicare spending. The program is not being gutted. Even with the ACA cuts, the CBO says the cost of Medicare is expected to grow from about $500 billion in 2012 to nearly $900 billion by 2022.

As for the cuts, they come from eliminating a massive subsidy to private insurers and gradually reducing the rate of growth in payments to some providers. These changes, while not catastrophic for Medicare, are important. Under the ACA, the federal government will substantially reduce the amount it spends funding Medicare Advantage, which is privately administered insurance offered to Medicare beneficiaries. About one-quarter of Medicare recipients are enrolled in private Medicare Advantage. In theory, these plans are supposed to manage health care spending better than fee-for-service Medicare. But they don’t actually save the federal government any money. They cost, per patient, 14% more than traditional Medicare. (See Figure 3 of this fact sheet from the Kaiser Family Foundation. And see here for more.) The ACA eliminates this subsidy and pegs Medicare Advantage payments to quality metrics.

The second bunch of money that gets cut from Medicare under Obamacare comes from providers. Hospitals, home health agencies and others will see Medicare payments grow more slowly than they have in the past.

Medicare benefits will not change – in theory. However, providers who get paid less from Medicare in the future may be less inclined to accept Medicare patients, thereby reducing access. The frequently criticized Independent Payment Advisory Board, created by the ACA, could cut provider payments even more to keep the growth in Medicare spending under a benchmark. If Medicare per capita spending grows faster than a rate pegged to inflation and later GDP, IPAB will be empowered to recommend provider payment cuts. If Congress can’t find alternative ways to keep Medicare spending growth under the inflation or GDP benchmark, the IPAB recommendations will automatically go into effect. This too could reduce access. Bonus Medicare Advantage benefits – like free gym memberships – may go away.

In exchange for these kinds of reductions in Medicare spending, funding for the program was bolstered in other ways by the ACA. Preventive care is now covered at 100% for Medicare beneficiaries and a gap in Medicare prescription drug coverage will slowly close under the law. Some Medicare beneficiaries, primarily wealthy Americans, will pay higher Medicare premiums and taxes under the ACA.

The idea, however, that the Affordable Care Act struck a dangerous blow to Medicare that will change the program in fundamental ways is untrue. Under the new law, Medicare will remain a wildly popular, public single-payer health insurance system that provides comprehensive coverage to millions of Americans.

198 comments
BettsyRoss
BettsyRoss

My electric bill is up, my gas bill is up, my water bill is up, telephone bill is up, cable is up,( all because of Obama's hidden taxes on them), food is now shockingly so expensive especially fruit and vegetables, gas is high and now Obama cut my Medicare check.  I worked and paid into the system for 50 yrs. and deserve a decent check, not these young fat lazy people who just don't want to work, or aliens just coming into our country to get whatever they can for free. I pay almost $300. a month of my Medicare check for health care but Obama wants to give health care free to all the freeloaders and aliens.  Obama is destroying this country with this Chernobyl care but then again I believe that is his plan.

janeyz
janeyz

Someone please explain to me how we rank number 37 worldwide in healthcare but we have the highest cost in healthcare in the world?

RichHeckmann
RichHeckmann

Healthcare in this country has infuriated me for the past 40 years.  Why should employers pay for a good slice of an individual's health plan. Perhaps you haven't heard that many major corporations are now initiating an $8000 family deductible and still charging $500 a month for coverage. A family of 4 making something in the $50,000 range might just have a hard time dealing with that. I love the Tea Party alternative.....don't get healthcare. It's my right! Then tell me why an emergency room can't refuse anyone. Including the moochers. Who by the way, are responsible for doctors and hospitals charging more to cover those costs. The insurance companies aren't going to complain as they can take up to 25% of their premiums to cover administrative costs and profits. Medicare spends 95% on patients. Healthcare is something that potentially  effects each and everyone of us. Unless you sign an affidavit stating that under no conditions will I ever be helped by a doctor or hospital, seems fair that we all pay our fair share.

thgirbla
thgirbla

And yet there will be NO Medical Plan cuts to the Members of Congress or Barry in the coming years ???

polnick
polnick

Scarcity is the root of violence; a few crumbs must be thrown to the weak or they will rebel. Violence will continue until all know their feeding order in life’s jungle.  When a benevolent president is feely chosen, he will make sure that even the disabled have a roof over their heads and the means to survive.

xps420
xps420

Oh ,but did not Obama say that if his Obama care pasted it would only keep health care cost down and at lower prices?

Campbell_Glass
Campbell_Glass

Great!  And when's gonna come the piece on how Romney isn't cutting anything from Medicare?  (No changes for anyone over 55.)  When's gonna come that piece?

I won't be holding my breath.

Richard
Richard

I assume anyone  can declare themselves as a  FACTCHECKER these days.   So here goes:

FACTCHECK by yours truly:  The billions in Obamacare cuts to Medicare providers will never occur.    The billions will be borrowed and add to the national debt.  Go look at the DOC fix which never happens.  

max4374
max4374

Well done.  The most comprehensive explanation I have read.  Thank you.

MACV
MACV

Here are a few of the nations with some form of "Universal Health Care"

Norway, New Zealand, Japan, Germany, Belgium, United Kingdom, Kuwait, Sweden, Bahrain, Brunei, Canada, Netherlands, Austria, United Arab Emirates, Finland, Slovenia, Denmark, Luxembourg, France, Australia, Ireland, Italy, Portugal, Cyprus, Greece, Spain, South Korea, Iceland, Hong Kong, Singapore, Switzerland, Israel .... 

United States 2014? Not if the Republicans have their way .... what is wrong with Americans?

DeeinColumbiaMD
DeeinColumbiaMD

The GOP has been trying to get rid of Medicare since the 60s. They do not now nor have they ever wanted to protect the program. What they want to do is to create a program that over time allow insurance companies syphin off the healthiest seniors by luring them with a cheaper plan so the govt plan will be stuck with sicker seniors and eventually implode under the weight since insurance is solvent because of the mix.

More importantly, the market share of Medicare allows it to drive the direction of health care insurance. Thru ACA amp; Medicare PBO has introduced a slow move away from fee for service towards practices that are both cheaper but produce better outcomes. The shift from paying for quantity of procedures to paying for quality or value of treatment will eventually save the money to keep Medicare solvent.

What's amazing is that the party that claims they're the party of free markets fails to understand basic market principles. PBO eliminates payments to industry because they failed provide the service at the cost from which they bid. He then plows that savings back into the program just like businesses plow profits back into their companies to expand. The GOP makes those same savings but instead of using it to strengthen the program they do exactly what they've accused the president of, they raid the program to pay for more tax cuts for the wealthy.

The GOP has no choice but to repeatedly lie because they can't sell their proposals to the average voter. When you call them out in it their supporters callyou names and repeat the lies in angrier voices but its still lies because they have nothing else to offer.

DeeinColumbiaMD
DeeinColumbiaMD

Only the simple minded, authoritarian mindset or those incapable of mounting an adequate defense clings to typos, font sizes or grammatical deficiencies to parry an attack.

MACV
MACV

Here is the Romney-Ryan agenda FACT CHECKED BY 60 MINUTES ...Repealing the Affordable Care Act - which both Romney and Ryan have pledged to do - would re-open the so-called donut hole, a coverage gap in the Medicare drug benefit, which under the president's health-care plan is gradually closing. Further the non-partisan agency that reviews congressional budgets (CBO) also said keeping Obama's health care reforms in place would not mean a $716 billion decrease in Medicare spending, as claimed by Romney and his campaign ad, it would slow down the INCREASE in Medicare spending over 10 years. The nonpartisan Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation found that seniors would pay about $6,200 more for medical care under the Ryan plan.  And I don't even want to talk about the Ryan/Republican plan to cut $16 Billion Dollars from the Food Stamp Program. A program that feeds over 24 Million Whites, 8 Million Blacks and approximately 4 Million Hispanic/Asians. 

The addition of Ryan to the Romney ticket moves the debate beyond the budget and the economy into morality. The Ryan Plan is so damaging to social programs benefiting our poorest and most vulnerable citizens that it prompted the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops to publicly blast the devout Catholic for not just tearing holes in the nation's safety net but for his "shredding of the nation’s moral obligations."

Informed Guy
Informed Guy

Whatever happened to U.S. News amp; World Report !?!

mcb0b
mcb0b

"However, providers who get paid less from Medicare in the future may be less inclined to accept Medicare patients, thereby reducing access."

It's already difficult to find someone who accepts Medicare in many areas.  The article glosses over this troubling aspect as if it's a non issue.  If you think it's not an issue you should first ask your doctor whether he or she is interested in taking on new medicare patients.  I think you'll be let down. 

politathiest
politathiest

Paul Ryan’s Medicare overhaul may be the most controversial part of his budget.But the proposed cuts to the program are not the biggest cuts in the plan.

As Ezra notes, Ryan’s cuts to Medicare “are only 60 percent as large as the cuts to Medicaid and other health-care programs.” What’s more, his biggest change to Medicare wouldn’t kick in until 2023—the start date for his voucher-based premium support program. By comparison, Ryan’s cuts to Medicaid are more drastic, and they start sooner: Between 2013 and 2022, it would make nearly $1.4 trillion in cuts to Medicaid that “would almost inevitably result in dramatic reductions in coverage” as well as enrollment, according to the non-partisan Kaiser Family Foundation.

Over the next 10 years, the Ryan plan would cut Medicaid by $642 billion by repealing the Affordable Care Act and by $750 billion through new caps on federal spending—a 34 percent cut to Medicaid spending over the next decade, according to Edwin Park of the Center and Budget and Policy Priorities.

Who would that impact? First, by overturning the ACA, the Ryan plan would prevent 11 million people from gaining Medicaid coverage by 2022, according to the Congressional Budget Office’s latest estimates.

At the same time, the Ryan plan would turn the entitlement program into a block-grant program. Currently, the federal government provides matching, open-ended funds to states, which each run their own Medicaid program. The Ryan plan would instead give states a block grant with a hard annual cap that would be adjusted to population growth and inflation, but it would not factor in rising health-care costs or economic conditions that impact state budgets. The result? Much less federal money. In exchange, states would have more flexibility to set the parameters for their Medicaid programs.

States could replace the money with state funds, but they’re unlikely to be willing or able to do so to any significant degree: State budgets remain tight. Similarly, states could try to get more bang for the buck by delivering care more efficiently, but Medicaid is already more efficient and better at driving down costs per capita than both private insurance and national health-care costs overall, as the Kaiser Family Foundation notes. Indeed, Medicaid costs much less, per person, than equivalent private insurance.

That’s why the CBO believes that $750 billion in Medicaid cuts under the Ryan plan would “probably require states to reduce payments to providers, curtail eligibility for Medicaid, provide less extensive coverage to beneficiaries, or pay more themselves than would be the case under current law.”

politathiest
politathiest

While Medicare is important , let's not forget the even more devestating effect to medicaid. Billions for overseas bases and Billionaires, but through the least under the bus-- Jesus weeps!

Paul Ryan’s Medicare overhaul may be the most controversial part of his budget.But the proposed cuts to the program are not the biggest cuts in the plan.

As Ezra notes, Ryan’s cuts to Medicare “are only 60 percent as large as the cuts to Medicaid and other health-care programs.” What’s more, his biggest change to Medicare wouldn’t kick in until 2023—the start date for his voucher-based premium support program. By comparison, Ryan’s cuts to Medicaid are more drastic, and they start sooner: Between 2013 and 2022, it would make nearly $1.4 trillion in cuts to Medicaid that “would almost inevitably result in dramatic reductions in coverage” as well as enrollment, according to the non-partisan Kaiser Family Foundation.

Over the next 10 years, the Ryan plan would cut Medicaid by $642 billion by repealing the Affordable Care Act and by $750 billion through new caps on federal spending—a 34 percent cut to Medicaid spending over the next decade, according to Edwin Park of the Center and Budget and Policy Priorities.

Who would that impact? First, by overturning the ACA, the Ryan plan would prevent 11 million people from gaining Medicaid coverage by 2022, according to the Congressional Budget Office’s latest estimates.

At the same time, the Ryan plan would turn the entitlement program into a block-grant program. Currently, the federal government provides matching, open-ended funds to states, which each run their own Medicaid program. The Ryan plan would instead give states a block grant with a hard annual cap that would be adjusted to population growth and inflation, but it would not factor in rising health-care costs or economic conditions that impact state budgets. The result? Much less federal money. In exchange, states would have more flexibility to set the parameters for their Medicaid programs.

States could replace the money with state funds, but they’re unlikely to be willing or able to do so to any significant degree: State budgets remain tight. Similarly, states could try to get more bang for the buck by delivering care more efficiently, but Medicaid is already more efficient and better at driving down costs per capita than both private insurance and national health-care costs overall, as the Kaiser Family Foundation notes. Indeed, Medicaid costs much less, per person, than equivalent private insurance.

That’s why the CBO believes that $750 billion in Medicaid cuts under the Ryan plan would “probably require states to reduce payments to providers, curtail eligibility for Medicaid, provide less extensive coverage to beneficiaries, or pay more themselves than would be the case under current law.”

If states maintained their current level of spending for each Medicaid patient, 19 million more people would have to be cut from the program in 2021 because of Ryan’s block-grant reform, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation. If states managed to curb health-care spending growth in Medicaid, 14 million beneficiaries would still lose Medicaid coverage under the Ryan plan. And that’s on top of the 11 million Americans who would lose Medicaid coverage because the Ryan plan would repeal Obamacare. So all in all, Ryan’s cuts could mean as many as 30 million Medcaid beneficiaries lose their coverage.

politathiest
politathiest

My number below was for a little farther out but this $6300 is still bad for 2022. Voucher will cosy seniors less...BAAAHAAAAA. WHEN have conservs EVER offered plans that helped mid class or poor rather than rich.

http://abcnews.go.com/m/blogEn...

politathiest
politathiest

My number was for a liitle farther out but this ones still bad. Vouchers will cost less.. baahaaa. When have conservs EVER proposed anything that will benefit mid class or poor!!?

The Obama campaign wasted no time before rolling out an attack ad featuring Floridian seniors voicing concerns about how Medicare cuts under Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney and his running mate Rep. Paul Ryan will affect them. But the ads raise questions about whether the Republican duo will really be "ending Medicare care as we know it" and increasing "seniors' health costs by $6,350 a year."

So ABCNews.com fact-checked the claims for you, and found that they're generally accurate given the information we have - assuming Romney embraces a plan that's similar to Ryan's budget proposal, that is.

In other words, they're somewhere between the truth and Stephen Colbert's "truthiness."

The dollar value in the Obama campaign statement comes from the Congressional Budget Office's long-term review of Paul Ryan's budget proposal published in April 2011. The report compares Ryan's proposal and the current Medicare system at several points in time, so ABCNews.com waded through the numbers to tell you what you need to know:

In 2022, Ryan's health plan is expected to save the government $615.38 per beneficiary compared with the current law (plus other possible policy changes), but it will cost those beneficiaries $6,358.97 more per person, according to the nonpartisan report. That's where the Obama campaign is getting its $6,350 number.

Here's a handy chart with data from the CBO report:

Costs in 2022 Ryan Proposal Current Law w/Expected Updates Difference Gov't Share $8,000.00 $8,615.38 ($615.38) Beneficiary Share $12,512.82 $6,153.85 $6,358.97 Total Cost $20,512.82 $14,769.23 $5,743.59

politathiest
politathiest

Ryans vouchers estimated to cost average 65 year old in decent shape an additional $9,734 in premium for policy to make up different. And Obama cut, ... no reapplication, .... no cost of repeal ( Romney can't figure what it really is cause he's already lied about what it is). But that small amount is gona hurt seniors and vouchers won't. Baaa haaaaaa haaaaaaa haaaaa, (choke, spat) HAAAAA , Bahaaaaaaaaaa... Stop please..... Your delusions are killing me.....I better get medical help.........i before Romney takes over! Bahaaaaa

John Smitson
John Smitson

We will never reduce medical costs until we rein in the lawyers! The reason for all the expensive tests that were never really needed is to cover the doctors ass when he gets sued! And dont forget the exorbinate mal-practice insurance costs due to the out of control lawyers!

shmtime
shmtime

Kate Pickert's precision in discussing how ACA and Medicare funding work is much appreciated. 

kjerry
kjerry

BL, I must not have hit reply as I was attempting to respond to the author's assertion that the Affordable Care Act struck a dangerous blow to Medicare that will change the program in fundamental ways, is untrue". That's the comment I was originally talking about.

However, why would it being a consumer protection focused law make it good law?

As you may have determined, I do not believe the ACA is good law as I believe the government should only do those things necessary to support the free market or that the free market cannot do. I favor a far more limited government than most on this site. I have read a great deal of the ACA (no not the whole 2700 pages), and I have read the Ryan plan, not off of right wing sites. Also, I have 35 years experience as a healthcare executive running hospitals, physician groups and a small HMO for a time. In my opinion Ryan's plan is far superior to tha ACA. The reason for me is that Ryan attempts to get free market principles reintroduced into the healthcare system. If we are to ever get a handle on healthcare costs, It's my belief that free market competition and choice (my personal choice, not the governments) will over time drive down prices, but only if you let it work and not throw hundreds of obstacles (well intended laws, the thousands of pages of regulations still being written, etc.) in the way.

To my mind, the issues are economic, not legal. It matters little what the ACA says today 2012 when the regs, which will be written and rewritten over the ensuing 10, 20, 30 years along with all the reactions to it by citizens will determine what happens. This post is long enough, so I'll go look at your Healthcare.org website

kjerry
kjerry

I would submit that the author has no way of knowing (nor do you) whether the above comment is true or untrue. It is an opinion, the truth of which will only be known years after the program has been in effect. All the players; hospitals, physicians, medical suppliers, drug companies, the bureaucrats in the many new agencies, and perhaps most importantly the consumers will act so as to protect their interest. No one really knows how it will turn out. Those who believe the government will take care of them and love big government have a set of beliefs. Those who believe that government should stay out of anything which the free market can readily provide have another set of beliefs. I guess we'll see who is right, maybe.

3xfire3
3xfire3

Florida Seniors More Scared by Obama’s Health Plan Than Ryan’s

President Barack Obama’s plans for healthcare are far more scary for seniors than those proposed by Republican vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan, a new poll in Florida shows.More than half — 54 percent — of those over 65 say Obamacare scares them more than Ryan’s plan, the poll from Rasmussen Reports shows. Only one in three believe the Ryan plan is more scary.

The figures show the older a person is the more likely they are to be worried by the Obama plan. For likely voters under 39, both plans scare them equally, for those between 40 and 64, Obama’s is the worse by a 47 to 41 percent margin.

The figures also show that Hispanics are far more worried than whites who are, in turn, more worried than blacks about Obamacare.

The overall figure in Florida shows Romney with a two percentage point lead over Obama among likely voters, with 11 percent opting for either some other candidate or saying they are not sure who they will vote for. However there is a huge age gap. Seniors give Romney a 24 percentage point lead, but those under 30 give Obama the edge by 16 points.Other figures from the Florida poll include:

• Only one likely voter in 100 thinks the economy is in “excellent” condition, with another 7 percent calling it good. A total of 38 percent said it was fair and 52 percent rated it poor;

• Slightly less than half rank Ryan’s ideology as “very conservative” with another 29 percent calling him “conservative.” Eight percent called him “moderate;”

• Half of all voters believe government spending will go up if Obama is re-elected and the Democrats regain control of Congress. Less than one-in-four think spending will increase if Romney wins and the Republicans win control;

 

http://www.newsmax.com/US/Rasm...

worleyeoe
worleyeoe

Um, let's get Romney in office and let him cut 10% across the board from everything the government spends money on and see if the liberals howl, "he's gutting government." No matter how you slice it, eliminating $1 out of every $10 spent is a significant reduction in Medicare funding. So as expected, all you're doing, Kate, is trying to turn lemons into lemonade, but it's not working.

Be that as it may, I'll fully recognize that any attempt to close our $1,400,000,000,000 annual budget deficits will be controversial. But at least Romney-Ryan will attempt to shift the public's attention to our looming debt crisis in addition to taking a more active role in creating jobs. Whether or not they'll get anything meaningful done will be up to those 535 persons serving in Congress and our collective will to see this mess through.

Ivy_B
Ivy_B

Thank you for the article, Kate. It was factual and helpful. I knew that Medicare Advantage was simply a vehicle for insurance companies and cost more, but didn't realize it cost 14% more. I see no reason why there should be a subsidy for this. If there is an income need to help with a Medicare supplement, money could be used for that, but I see no reason for the plans as they have existed.

This is another source for facts about Medicare Advantage.

http://www.medicare.gov/naviga...

3xfire3
3xfire3

Kate,

 

With all the Obama and Obama campaign statements about Ryan and the Republicans ending Medicare as we know it, I never once saw you come to their aid to dispel those lies.

Now with two views on how the Obama/Biden plan differs from the Romney/Ryan plan you dash right in to defend Obama.

Don't you think that makes you look like a real partisan hypocrite?

I sometimes get the impression you are working Pro Bono for the Obama campaign.

Whatever happened to the times when real journalist did their best to provide accurate and complete information to the American citizens to help them make informed decision?

Apparently you see your role in life to be an Ideologue rather than a real journalist.

 

 

Benevolent Lawyer
Benevolent Lawyer

This is an excerpt from the government,

Healthcare.gov website, on the law. If you want to read the law in full, I have

also provided a link.

http://www.healthcare.gov/inde...

 

 

Some changes in Healthcare contained in the law.

 

   1.  50% discount for

name-brand drugs in the Medicare "donut hole"

    2. Expanded coverage

for young adults

    3. Small business tax

credits

    4. Pre-Existing

Condition Insurance Plans

 

65 or Older

 

The Affordable Care Act strengthens Medicare, offers

eligible seniors a range of preventive services with no cost-sharing, and

provides discounts on drugs when in the coverage gap known as the “donut hole.”

Learn how the health care law affects people age 65 or older.

Medicare Preventive Services

 

1. If you have Medicare, you are eligible for a number of

cost-free preventive services.

Medicare Drug Discounts

 

2. Eligible seniors who are in the coverage gap known as the

“donut hole” automatically receive a discount on prescription drugs in 2011 and

beyond.

250 dollar “Donut Hole” Rebate (2010)

 

3. If you were in the prescription drug coverage gap in 2010,

you may have qualified for a rebate.

4. Strengthening Medicare-The health care law cracks down on waste, fraud, and abuse

while providing new protections for seniors.

   If you have questions about health care for seniors, visit

the Medicare and Long-Term Care section. Use our interactive FAQ tool at

answers.healthcare.gov to find answers to your questions about health care and

insurance.

Benevolent Lawyer
Benevolent Lawyer

This is an excerpt from the government, Healthcare.gov website, on the law. If you want to read the law in full, I have also provided a link.

http://www.healthcare.gov/inde...

Some changes in Healthcare contained in the law. 

50% discount for name-brand drugs in the Medicare "donut hole

"Expanded coverage for young adults

Small business tax credits

Pre-Existing Condition Insurance Plans

For those 65 AND OLDER

The Affordable Care Act strengthens Medicare, offers

eligible seniors a range of preventive services with no cost-sharing,

and provides discounts on drugs when in the coverage gap known as the

“donut hole.”

Learn how the health care law affects people age 65 or

older.

Medicare Preventive Services. If you have Medicare, you are eligible for a number of cost-free preventive services.

Medicare Drug Discounts Eligible seniors who are in the coverage gap known as the “donut hole” automatically receive a discount on prescription drugs in 2011 and beyond.$250 “Donut Hole” Rebate (2010)

If you were in the prescription drug coverage gap in 2010, you may have qualified for a rebate.

Strengthening MedicareThe health care law cracks down on waste, fraud, and abuse while providing new protections for seniors. 

If you have questions about health care for seniors, visit the Medicare and Long-Term Care section. Use our interactive FAQ tool at answers.healthcare.gov to find answers to your questions about health care and insurance.

georgiamd
georgiamd

"The frequently criticized Independent Payment Advisory Board,

created by the ACA, could cut provider payments even more to keep the

growth in Medicare spending under a benchmark. If Medicare per capita

spending grows faster than a rate pegged to inflation and later GDP,

IPAB will be empowered to recommend provider payment cuts.

Our most vulnerable citizens will be those impacted by these cuts in service. The shut ins, the handicapped and yes, the children.

“Medicaid is very much on the chopping block,” said Senator John D.

Rockefeller IV, Democrat of West Virginia and chairman of the Senate

Finance Subcommittee on Health Care. “Seniors vote. But if you are poor

and disabled, you might not vote, and if you are a child, you do not

vote — that’s a lot of Medicaid’s population. They don’t have money to

do lobbying.”

Benevolent Lawyer
Benevolent Lawyer

Nice piece, Ms. Pickert!!

As part of a program I undertook, we had to review the Healthcare plan. In the estimation of many Health Law professors who are legal luminaries in this field, they opined that it was a plan that boldly benefited the middle class. The law is not perfect but is quite a good beginning.

However, I do not know why Obama allowed big corporations who saw this law as eating into their profits, and regulating their arbitrary acts against patients, to define the law.

I would like the members of Congress, and all who discuss it, to be questioned about the law. Did they read it? Do they know its contents. It is a dense legal document, and is a challenge, even if you are used to reading thousands of pages of  technical judicial decisions and cases, within a short period. So many people that are discussing and demonizing the law, when informed of the protections and benefits provided by the law, like it.  So, in not making an effort to rigorously promote the law, Obama is now put in the position of defending the law.

One thing I think should be asked by the average voter, regarding the new outcry about the ACA cutting millions from Medicare, is why it started once Ryan the "Get rich or Die" Veep was selected by Romney. I have seen portions of the Ryan plan, and cannot understand the calculations it assumes, and fail to see the benefit of altering it to a voucher system based on fluid economic parameters.

Well, this is what you get when you allow goo d Law to be demonized. It get keeps getting worse. Obama could have marketed the ACA better. This issue would have been asked and answered because the public would be more informed.

Lets hope he can defend and explain the law in the detailed manner this author, Ms. Pickert, has done.

carotexas
carotexas

The primary care doctors office and the specialists I use have waiting rooms full of senior citizens and young children.   I presume that the majority are Medicare and Medicaid.

Young and mature adults rarely need to see a doctor, so I am wondering who are the patients doctors will see that they can turn down Medicare?

My conclusion was that Medicare and Medicaid are the bread and butter patients and private insurance the the gravy.

Thank you Kate good post.

grape_crush
grape_crush

The idea, however, that the Affordable Care Act struck a dangerous blow

to Medicare that will change the program in fundamental ways is untrue.

That's a kind way of saying that what Romney's campaign is putting out there is a god**mn lie.

gysgt213
gysgt213

"However, providers who get paid less from Medicare in the future may be less inclined to accept Medicare patients, thereby reducing access.>....

....

Katie:  Just for the record.  This already happens and has been happening for a while because this is not the first time that doctors have had to make the choice of accepting reduced payments or leaving the system all together.

urownexperience
urownexperience

Obama is for the common man and woman, Repugs are for the wealthy. Period. 

Hollywooddeed
Hollywooddeed

I can't understand why Willard is hammering on this.  A lot of us love Romneycare.

jmac
jmac

My Senator, John Cornyn from Texas, wrote an op-ed before the 2010 elections crying Obama was cutting Medicare Advantage.  It's a wasteful program that was costing Medicare a fortune and reimbursed those who could afford to pay the extra price to purchase it so their tennis lessons and gym memberships could be reimbursed.  A great deal if you had the money to purchase it.     

This is the same man who continually convinces editors in Texas that he's fiscally responsible.   He just this week mentioned it again - it worked for 2010 but hopefully the press will keep pointing these issues out so more people will understand the difference as Texas gets ready to put a Tea Party conservative to serve in lockstep with Cornyn.     

LiberalLies2012
LiberalLies2012

Hey Kate

Great spin for Obama.  Did you get that all written for you from the Obama campaign?  White House?  Department of Health and Human Services?  

Why don't you also include in your "context" the subsidies which you have labeled "massive" are really made up of low cost rates for Seniors who are on fixed incomes and can't afford the very expensive Medigap policies that people have to buy if they do not go with one of the Medicare Advantage plans.  

Can you do that Kate?  Show the difference in cost to those low income seniors you are throwing under the bus with Barry Obama?  I know you have to stay on topic with the Obama Shill Bus which leaves daily out of TIME, but do your best.  Perhaps a little research on the savings that Medicare Advantage plans have on a monthly basis for Seniors will change your blatant shilling for this Administration and the horrendous ObamaCare plan we have all been saddled with.  

Oh and be a little more specific on that "second bunch of cuts".  How the reductions in payments in hospitals, doctors, home health agencies and others that provide needed medical services for seniors will be drastically impacted in order to pay for ObamaCare.  That many seniors will now be forced into one of the ACO's that ObamaCare is creating.  Want to explain what ACO's are Kate?  Tell the people all about ACO's.  

Then one last request, could you also show how the "Doc Fix" Obama and the rest of the DemocRats screwed the America Tax payers by keeping those costs hidden and out of sight in the over all cost to fund ObamaCare?  

Really appreciate it.  I won't hold my breath tho, because like your predecessor, you are nothing more than an Obama Shill.  

For those who do want to be educated and do not want to believe in propaganda and fairytales as told by TIME writers, here you can get the truth.

http://www.obamacarewatch.org/...

Tero1
Tero1

One of Romney's surrogates made the statement that people over 55 don't even have to listen to this debate because the Romney plan does not affect these people. 

So, I guess no one over 55 knows anyone that will be affected? Or else they won't care that Medicare will not be around for their children and grandchildren. 

But hey, they will get a "premium support voucher" to purchase private insurance, that's just as good isn't it?

thebobbob
thebobbob

How can you tell when a Republican is making stuff up and distorting reality to suit their political needs?

More lies and distortion from The party of fear, hatred, distortion, distraction and division

Tero1
Tero1

"Medicare will remain a wildly popular, public single-payer health insurance system that provides comprehensive coverage to millions of Americans."

Oh, the horror! Next stop: Marxism!!

Pollopa
Pollopa

Wait a minute, that's not what Romney tells me.  He never lies. He has a whiteboard presentation and everything. Where's your whiteboard Kate?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v...

Could the republicans have picked a worse candidate?  I guess they gave it a shot with who was in the primary.

nflfoghorn
nflfoghorn

Sounds like

reducing funding in Medicare Advantage = reducing farm subsidies

If that ever catches on, farmers and oil companies would FLIP!

sixtymile
sixtymile

From my own knowledge of someone with MA coverage who had a major and expensive medical event and after full recovery showed me the billings -- MA paid out zero and the sole beneficiary was the insurance company. MA is part of the Medicare problem and ACA is part of the solution. Restoring funding to MA would be shear idiocy and it's almost-almost impossible to imagine that Romney/Ryan would actually do that -- "gutted Medicare" is just a meaningless tag-line. Back to the "free gym" now...

anon76returns
anon76returns

"The idea, however, that the Affordable Care Act struck a dangerous blow to Medicare that will change the program in fundamental ways is untrue."

Hey, I thought you were supposed to use some opaque euphemism when fact checking.  Time to check the memo!

MrObvious
MrObvious

Kate

I'm sure you're aware that the Romney campaign and base doesn't really do context.

The world operates under very complicated formulas; the rightie world operates barely under the idea that 1 + 1 = same