Thursday, August 27, 2009

Obama targets medicare advatages

Mr. Obama was wise to vacation this week on Martha’s Vineyard. Not because it's one of the few places in America where his health-care plan is still popular, but because by getting out of Washington he gave staff times to repair his vaunted message machine, which was starting to break down.
Two weeks ago, White House Senior Adviser David Axelrod said in a now famous "viral" email that, "It's a myth that health insurance reform would be financed by cutting Medicare profits." This was sent out the day before Mr. Obama told a Montana town hall that he would pay for health-care reform by "eliminating . . . about $177 billion over 10 years" for "what's called Medicare Advantage." And it was two days before Mr. Obama told a Colorado town hall he would cover "two-thirds" of the "roughly $900 billion" of his plan's cost by "eliminating waste," again citing Medicare Advantage.
Medicare Advantage was enacting in 2003 to allow seniors to use Medicare funds to buy private insurance plans that fit their needs and their budgets. They get better health care and better value for their money.
Previously, an estimated 10.2 million seniors - one out of five in America - have enrolled in Medicare Advantage. Mr. Obama is proposing to cut the program by almost 20% and thus reduce the amount of money each will have to buy insurance. This will probable force most of them to lose the insurance they have now. Yet Mr. Obama promises in late July in New Hampshire that, "if you like your health-care plan, you can keep your health-care plan."


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