“This president stole — he didn’t cut Medicare — he stole $700 billion from Medicare to fund Obamacare. If any person in this entire debate has blood on their hands in regard to Medicare, it’s Barack Obama. He’s the one that’s destroying Medicare.”
~Reince Priebus, Republican National Committee Chairman
First – Republicans can’t seem to figure out how much they think Obama stole. Reince Priebus – the RNC Chairman – says $700 billion today and last week Mitt Romney says it was $500 billion; make up your mind guys. When you’re lying so blatantly … what’s a couple of hundred billion anyway. The reason conservatives are going so hard at the charge that Obama tried to kill Medicare is because they need to insulate themselves from their own budget which actually does the very thing that they falsely accuse the Obama administration of doing.
Conservatives including Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan are constantly deriding Democrats for pushing for an “entitlement state” or “European style socialism” but at the same time – they want to reassure seniors that THEY will get their entitlements. While at the same time they’re telling kids they’re going to be unlocked from the burdens of socialism that are Medicare and Social Security. Conservatives will sell this to the younger generations that their parents and grandparents who were FORCED having to live with a tyrannical
entitlement nanny state ensuring seniors don’t die in the streets poor and without dignity. And conservatives will forget to mention this blissful libertarian paradise that they speak of exists only in Somalia presently. But with a lot of work – it could be coming to America really soon. *Fingers crossed*
Well – ABC News fact checks this fabrication that continues to be regurgitated by conservative political operatives … they say it’s false HERE:
So does it “cut” Medicare by $500 billion?
Medicare spending will continue to grow, according to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), but ACA will slow that growth. According to a report from the Kaiser Family Health Foundation over the next 10 years, the federal government will devote about $500 billion less to Medicare than it would have without ACA.
CMS and the Kaiser Family Foundation tell ABC News that there will be no benefit cuts to Medicare. They say instead of Medicare’s being cut, there will be much more spending at the end of a 10-year window, but it does slow the rate of that growth. This is all unless Congress makes drastic changes to Medicare, for example passing House Budget Chairman Rep. Paul Ryan’s Medicare Plan.
CMS says—and Kaiser agrees—that spending will be reduced by getting rid of fraud and ending overpayments to private insurance companies. It sends a message to those insurance companies: Operate more efficiently.
You constantly hear conservatives talking about eliminating waste, fraud and abuse from Medicare and that’s exactly what Obamacare did regarding Medicare. It did not take away even ONE dollar from Medicare recipients … it gives Medicare recipients MORE in terms of reimbursement. Taking away money from insurance companies that do not do their job by policing waste, fraud and abuse is precisely what getting rid of waste looks like. But conservatives are browbeating Democrats for it because insurance companies give a LOT of money to the Republican party and they think it’s a winning political issue to act like they’re on the side of seniors. Sure they are. *Wink*
It’s pretty easy to understand … insurance companies stand to lose $500 billion off this whole deal and they want their corporate welfare. It isn’t complicated when you cut through all of the B.S.
As the Center for American Progress notes – Obamacare helped eliminate the “donut hole” for seniors HERE:
Obamacare closes the important prescription drug coverage gap in the Medicare Part D program known as the “donut hole,” when an enrollee’s costs are more than a certain amount—$2,380 in 2010 when the health care law was passed—leaving the person responsible for all prescription expenses until those costs reach a higher amount—$6,440 in 2010—at which point the person is responsible for 5 percent of drug costs. In 2010 this meant that all beneficiaries who had total medication costs within that $4,060 gap had to pay their prescription bills in full without any help from Medicare.
Without Obamacare that donut hole would’ve grown to a $6,000 gap by 2020. Instead, it’s shrinking every year and will disappear by 2020.
The USA Today explains seniors have saved $687 million in prescription prices courtesy of Obamacare through the first 6 months of 2012 HERE:
In the first six months of this year, more than 1 million seniors and people with disabilities saved $687 million on prescription drugs in the doughnut hole — or the gap between traditional and catastrophic coverage in the Part D drug benefit — as part of the health care law, Health and Human Services plans to announce Wednesday.
That’s an average of $629 per patient.
As part of the 2010 health care law, drugmakers participating in the program had to give the government a 50% break on premium drugs and 14% on generic drugs, which the government then passed on to seniors. In 2012, the coverage gap is $2,930. The health care law eliminates the doughnut hole by 2020.
And Talking Points Memo explains that both President Obama and Paul Ryan agree cuts in Medicare need to be made. President Obama thinks cuts should be made on the provider side (insurance companies, doctors etc) and Paul Ryan wants to make the cuts on the beneficiary side i.e. seniors. They explain HERE:
Ryan’s Medicare plan focuses its cuts on the beneficiary side. It converts the insurance program into a fixed subsidy that seniors can use to buy policies from a menu or private options and a government option. If the value of the subsidy doesn’t keep up with medical cost inflation, seniors will have to pay more out of pocket to get the same care.
Obama and Ryan agree that Medicare per-beneficiary spending should be capped at per-capita GDP plus 0.5 percent, but disagree on what to cut in order to get there.
The Congressional Budget Office explains that repealing Obamacare would increase Medicare costs i.e. waste, fraud, abuse by $716 billion over 10 years. In other words – repealing Obamacare BANKRUPTS Medicare by giving more money to insurance companies and hospitals. You can read that on page 13 HERE:
Many of the other provisions that would be repealed by enacting H.R. 6079 affect spending for Medicare, Medicaid, and other federal programs. The ACA made numerous changes to payment rates and payment rules in those programs, established a voluntary federal program for long-term care insurance through the Community Living Assistance Services and Supports (CLASS) provisions, and made certain other changes to federal health programs. In total, CBO estimates that repealing those provisions would increase net federal spending by $711 billion over the 2013–2022 period. (Those budgetary effects are summarized in Table 1.) Spending for Medicare would increase by an estimated $716 billion over that 2013–2022 period. Federal spending for Medicaid and CHIP would increase by about $25 billion from repealing the noncoverage provisions of the ACA, and direct spending for other programs would decrease by about $30 billion, CBO estimates.
They then continue to explain WHERE these Obamacare saves money relative to Medicare:
The provisions whose repeal would result in the largest increases in federal deficits include the following (all estimates are for the 2013–2022 period):
● Repeal of the reductions in the annual updates to Medicare’s payment rates for most services in the fee-for-service sector (other than physicians’ services) would increase Medicare outlays by $415 billion. (That figure excludes interactions between those provisions and others—namely, the effects of those changes on payments to Medicare Advantage plans and collections of Part B premiums.) Of that amount, higher payments for hospital services account for $260 billion; for skilled nursing services, $39 billion; for hospice services, $17 billion; for home health services, $66 billion; and for all other services, $33 billion.
● Repeal of the new mechanism for setting payment rates in the Medicare Advantage program would increase Medicare outlays by $156 billion (before considering interactions with other provisions).
● Repeal of the reductions in Medicaid and Medicare payments to hospitals that serve a large number of low-income patients, known as disproportionate share hospitals (DSH), would increase federal spending by $56 billion.
● Repeal of other provisions pertaining to Medicare, Medicaid, and CHIP (other than the coverage-related provisions discussed earlier) would increase federal spending by $114 billion.7 That figure includes a $3 billion increase in spending from eliminating the Independent Payment Advisory Board (IPAB).8 Under current law, the IPAB will be required, under certain circumstances, to recommend changes to the Medicare program to reduce that program’s spending; such changes will go into effect automatically.
What you DO NOT SEE written by the Congressional Budget Office is that money will be taken away from seniors.
Jonathan Kohn at The New Republic explains what Republicans voted for and what Paul Ryan proposed in the House of Represenatives HERE:
Ryan really believes in ending Medicare as we know it. The essential promise of Medicare, ever since its establishment in 1965, is that every senior citizen is entitled to a comprehensive set of medical benefits that will protect him or her from financial ruin. The government provides these benefits directly, through a public insurance program, although seniors have the right to enroll in comparable private plans if they choose. But the key is that guarantee of benefits, and it’s what Ryan would take away. He would replace it with a voucher, whose value would rise at a pre-determined formula unlikely to keep up with actual medical expenses.
Ryan’s early proposals had no safeguards to make sure the voucher was adequate. His most recent one has safeguards, a more reasonable spending line, and preserves the government-run plan as an option. But the safeguards are weak, at best, and the government-run program would struggle to survive. The long-term effect would likely be the same: Over time, more and more seniors would find the voucher too small to buy the insurance they need, forcing many to pick between health care and other essential needs–the very same situation they routinely faced until the 1960s, when dismay over the hardship seniors faced created the political groundswell for Medicare.
Keep in mind, by the way, that Ryan would also raise the eligibility age of Medicare from 65 to 67. Without the Affordable Care Act, which Ryan would repeal, many if not most 65- and 66-year-olds without employer insurance would end up uninsured. And that’s not an age at which you want to be skipping doctor visits.
And as I wrote about HERE – Paul Ryan’s budget slowly guts Medicare with an almost perverse pleasure … just like watching Dexter Morgan cutting up one of his latest victims:
In other words – the Paul Ryan budget is going to have a significant cost to future Seniors just like the original Paul Ryan plan..as he attempts to revive a “voucher plan” that he calls “premium support”. The only support future Seniors are likely to get is the support of higher healthcare costs as Paul Ryan’s plan shifts the burden of guaranteed healthcare for future Seniors from government to the individuals themselves. That IS a continuation of the Republican war on the middle class, and that IS how they’re going to pay for their tax cuts for millionaires.
And as the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities shows HERE – under the Paul Ryan plan … seniors pay a LOT more for their out of pocket Medicare costs:
In 2022, the first year the voucher would apply, CBO estimates that total health care expenditures for a typical 65-year-old would be almost 40 percent higher with private coverage under the Ryan plan than they would be with a continuation of traditional Medicare. (See graph.) CBO also finds that this beneficiary’s annual out-of-pocket costs would more than double — from $6,150 to $12,500. In later years, as the value of the voucher eroded, the increase in out-of-pocket costs would be even greater.
CBO wrote that “Paying more for health care would be particularly challenging for elderly people with less savings and lower income.”5 And Alice Rivlin said that she does not support Ryan’s new proposal. Rivlin observed that it would result in a massive cost-shift over time to beneficiaries and that the growth rate Ryan set for his vouchers is “much, much too low” and “I don’t think that’s defensible.
And if that wasn’t enough – MediaMatters has a great breakdown of the Ryan plan to turn Medicare into a voucher plan HERE.
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