Thursday, March 1, 2012

Obama Abandons Medicare

President Obama and Democrats claim to be committed to “protecting” seniors. But their policies fail to protect the essential Medicare program. It is yet another broken promise by the president. Once again this week, President Obama ignored a legal requirement to produce a plan to strengthen Medicare – the fourth straight year he has failed to put a plan forward. And reports indicate Democrats in the Senate have no plans to strengthen Medicare because it would be “giving away the biggest [political] advantage” Democrats have had “in some time.”
The failure of the President’s health care law to strengthen Medicare is a prime example of Democratic hypocrisy. A close look at provisions in the law reveal how it’s fiscal gimmicks and centralized control undermine the Medicare program, harming seniors in the process.
Millions Lose Their Current Coverage
The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimates that the president’s health care law will cut a total of $202.3 billion from Medicare Advantage plans. These plans deliver a range of health care options to more than 12 million seniors, one-quarter of those enrolled in the Medicare program. One recent study demonstrated that the law will cause Medicare Advantage plan enrollment to be cut in half by 2017. In addition to enrollment being cut, seniors’ choice of health care plans will be cut by two-thirds.
The Health Care Law Hurts Medicare’s Long-Term Solvency
Obama Administration actuaries have confirmed that the president’s health care law will increase overall health spending by $311 billion. The increased spending further exacerbates the long-term trends that have placed the Medicare program in financial trouble.
The president’s health care law uses Medicare savings not to strengthen Medicare, but to fund new entitlements. The CBO stated the law “would not enhance the ability of the government to pay for future Medicare benefits.” The non-partisan Medicare actuary confirmed that Medicare reductions in the law “cannot be simultaneously used to finance other federal outlays and to extend the [Medicare] trust fund.” Even Speaker Pelosi admitted this problem in November, when she said in an interview that “we took half a trillion dollars out of Medicare in…the health care bill,” to pay for other program spending.

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