White House makes the right call: don't give them the ammo
by David Atkins
The White House has finally figured out what many of us already knew: deficit reduction and reducing the overall cost of Obamacare isn't worth the perception that Democrats are "cutting Medicare"--even if it is only cuts to the bloated, privatized and unfair "Medicare Advantage" program:
The Obama administration announced Monday that planned cuts to Medicare Advantage would not go through as anticipated amid election-year opposition from congressional Democrats."Medicare Advantage" is a specially subsidized, private version of Medicare that is essentially a backdoor first step to privatizing Medicare entirely. It's good that the Obama Administration wants to make cuts to it, in part to even the playing field with traditional Medicare. But those cuts should be made in order to shift the money to traditional Medicare, not to the ACA or deficit reduction. That charge that Democrats are cutting Medicare in order to give healthcare to "those people" is much more politically damaging than the charge that the ACA is too expense. Better to eliminate the Medicare Advantage cuts entirely during a tough midterm, then eliminate the subsidy to Medicare Advantage and shift the benefits to traditional Medicare instead.
The cuts would have reduced benefits that seniors receive from health plans in the program, which is intended as an alternative to Medicare.
Under cuts planned by the administration, insurers offering the plans were to see their federal payments reduced by 1.9 percent, which likely would have necessitated cuts for customers.
Instead, the administration said the federal payments to insurers will increase next year by .40 percent.
The healthcare law included $200 billion in cuts to Medicare Advantage over 10 years, in part to pay for ObamaCare.
The Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Services (CMS) on Monday said changes in the healthcare market meant it did not need to make those cuts to Medicare Advantage this year.
It cited an increase in healthy beneficiaries under Medicare, which it said has lowered projected costs for that program.
The GOP would go ballistic, of course, but who cares? The point is to ensure that they cannot so easily lie about Democrats wanting to "cut Medicare."