White House cancels Medicare Advantage cuts

posted at 1:21 pm on April 8, 2014 by Bruce McQuain

The White House has once again bowed to screaming Democrats worried about the mid-term elections and this time cancelled cuts to Medicare Advantage. As you recall, these cuts were to be made to pay for ObamaCare:

The Obama administration announced Monday that planned cuts to Medicare Advantage would not go through as anticipated amid election-year opposition from congressional Democrats.

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) said that the cuts weren’t necessary because of an “an increase in healthy beneficiaries under Medicare.” That, of course, makes little sense. Medicare is a mandatory insurance program for people 65 and older. How that demographic suddenly got “healthier” remains a mystery, but there you have the “reason” for the decision. Well, that and mid-term elections.

As for cost, someone needs to explain how ObamaCare is to be funded if the mechanisms set in place to pay for it keep getting delayed or cancelled.

When CBO analysts most recently looked at the gross cost of expanding Medicaid and giving subsidies to individuals to purchase insurance through the new exchanges — the bulk of the law’s spending — they came up with slightly more than $2 trillion for 2015 through 2024.

After deducting some offsets from the law — such as penalty payments from employers and individuals due to insurance mandates — CBO estimated the net cost at nearly $1.5 trillion.

The CBO hasn’t done a standalone deficit analysis on Obamacare since 2012, but at that time, its analysts estimated the law would reduce deficits by $109 billion, once all tax increases, cuts to Medicare and other savings are taken into account.

When referring to the “cost” of Obamacare, the fair thing to do is cite the $2 trillion figure — and no, that isn’t just because it’s a higher number. The gross figure represents how much the federal government will have to spend on expanding coverage through Obamacare, at least according to the CBO. If the government weren’t spending $2 trillion on insurance coverage, that’s money that could be going to reducing the deficit, spending more on infrastructure or a host of other theoretical policies.

As mentioned above, that $2 trillion cost had about $500 billion in offsets. But the penalty payments from employers and individuals has been delayed and now the $200 billion in Medicare Advantage cuts/offsets is cancelled, or so says the imperial presidency. That, of course, doesn’t change the cost, it only increases it.

Short term political pandering aimed at winning elections as usual from this administration. Ironically, it has been more effective than the Republicans in dismantling portions of the atrocity known as ObamaCare. So, thanks to the mid-terms, Republicans get one of the cuts they wanted reversed cancelled. Of course they won’t get credit for it – but then that’s the plan isn’t it?

And, this is all likely temporary anyway, even though the White House and Dems won’t spin it as so:

“The changes CMS included in the final rate notice will help mitigate the impact on seniors, but the Medicare Advantage program is still facing a reduction in payment rates next year on top of the 6 percent cut to payments in 2014,” said [AHIP] president Karen Ignagni.

But it will get them through the election cycle, won’t it?

~McQ


Related Posts:

Breaking on Hot Air

Blowback

Note from Hot Air management: This section is for comments from Hot Air's community of registered readers. Please don't assume that Hot Air management agrees with or otherwise endorses any particular comment just because we let it stand. A reminder: Anyone who fails to comply with our terms of use may lose their posting privilege.

Trackbacks/Pings

Trackback URL

Comments

Major changes in ObamaCare are called “weekdays”.

Chuck Schick on April 8, 2014 at 1:24 PM

scum…

PatriotRider on April 8, 2014 at 1:25 PM

More lawlessness is coming….

d1carter on April 8, 2014 at 1:26 PM

Medicare is a mandatory insurance program for people 65 and older. How that demographic suddenly got “healthier” remains a mystery

Mooch’s “Let’s Move” program an unqualified success among seniors!

Happy Nomad on April 8, 2014 at 1:32 PM

And on what authority is Emperor HUSSEIN The Unready going to appropriate these funds?

ConstantineXI on April 8, 2014 at 1:32 PM

Republicans are mean and evil for trying to stop this…………………////////////

LeftCoastRight on April 8, 2014 at 1:32 PM

The only constant is change.

KW64 on April 8, 2014 at 1:33 PM

Mooch’s “Let’s Move” program an unqualified success among seniors!

Happy Nomad on April 8, 2014 at 1:32 PM

Empress Fattassia’s most performed exercise is moving food from her plate to her mouth. That and scowling.

ConstantineXI on April 8, 2014 at 1:36 PM

Thugs of the Land

Schadenfreude on April 8, 2014 at 1:36 PM

This is why tax increases now cuts later never, never works.

jmtham156 on April 8, 2014 at 1:40 PM

Empress Fattassia’s most performed exercise is moving food from her plate to her mouth. That and scowling.

ConstantineXI on April 8, 2014 at 1:36 PM

Hey you burn more calories scowling than smiling. ;0

Happy Nomad on April 8, 2014 at 1:40 PM

Well for once the White House is blatantly transparent showing they’ll do anything to win elections.

darwin on April 8, 2014 at 1:42 PM

But it will get them through the election cycle, won’t it?

That depends. Scope of care has been reduced through Medicare. (If those “healthier beneficiaries” is calculated by projections based on reduction of risk stemming from limited scope of services/treatments…that might make sense….it would shift the risk pool to the side of healthier, at least theoretically, wouldn’t it?).

Reimbursements to docs are being delayed from Medicare.
I know of three private practice docs within a 20 mile radius shutting their doors in the next two months. Can’t afford the risk of lowered payments combined with delayed payments. About 8K patients total impacted, with at least 80% of that being Medicare patients with chronic illnesses.

So, if we see lot of people suddenly losing their doctor between now and November…that probably won’t go well for the Dems.
(Related topic: ICD-10 got delayed for another year, too.)

lineholder on April 8, 2014 at 1:42 PM

Well for once the White House is blatantly transparent showing they’ll do anything to win elections.

darwin on April 8, 2014 at 1:42 PM

For once? You miss the part where they claimed Mitt Romney gave a woman cancer? You miss the lies about Benghazi that would have proven how feckless Obama’s foreign policy has been? The lies about the unemployment rate?

Happy Nomad on April 8, 2014 at 1:44 PM

He can’t!

That’s blatantly against the law HE signed and he can’t even wiggle around saying it falls to executive discretion because it’s a BILLING issue and that power, constitutionally granted – LITERALLY, belongs to the house.

This is absolute grounds for impeachment.

Skywise on April 8, 2014 at 1:45 PM

Hey you burn more calories scowling than smiling. ;0

Happy Nomad on April 8, 2014 at 1:40 PM

I don’t think it requires effort for it to scowl now. It’s permanently burned into her face.

ConstantineXI on April 8, 2014 at 1:46 PM

Boy, is President Obama gonna be angry when he reads about this in the paper on Friday!!

DublOh7 on April 8, 2014 at 1:51 PM

It’s become a running gag at this point, but again I have to ask. Does the regime have any authority to do this? Just canceling planned cuts to Medicare Advantage sounds like Obama is appropriating funds which is beyond his Constitutional authority. By that rationale, he could cancel any cuts he doesn’t like. Which renders Congress superfluous.

Doughboy on April 8, 2014 at 1:55 PM

Remember this nauseating pack of lies from the White House?

And conservatives were the ones called liars for doubting that Obamacare would be deficit neutral.

forest on April 8, 2014 at 1:55 PM

You know, this might be appropriate if it were an event to raise money for the USO or Wounded Warrior Project. This is just crass like the filthy rat-eared coward and his entire party.

WASHINGTON (CBS Houston/AP) — A White House aide says President Barack Obama plans to attend a memorial service Wednesday at Fort Hood — the site of last week’s shooting rampage.
The memorial is also the same day Obama will reportedly attend a Democratic fundraiser in Houston for House and Senate candidates.
The Associated Press obtained an invitation to the April 9 event where tickets start at $16,200 a person and go up to $64,800 for a couple. Democratic leaders Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi are also expected to attend.
The AP reports that the money raised at the fundraiser will go to Democratic campaign committees in the House and Senate.

Happy Nomad on April 8, 2014 at 1:57 PM

Boy, is President Obama gonna be angry when he reads about this in the paper on Friday!!

DublOh7 on April 8, 2014 at 1:51 PM

Nobody is madder than Obama.

Happy Nomad on April 8, 2014 at 1:59 PM

That’s all part of the scam. They said that Obamacare with all its cuts was going to cut the deficit, and the costs weren’t going to be astronomical. Now the costs are exploding through the roof, and all the cuts… are being cut. So the deficit is going to go up by trillions. Pitiful.

anotherJoe on April 8, 2014 at 2:01 PM

now that Ocare adds so much to the deficit, that means it can be repealed through reconciliation with 51 votes in the Senate right?

I expect Sen Maj Leader McConnell to make this his first priority in Jan 2015… but I’m not holding my breath

thurman on April 8, 2014 at 2:02 PM

There goes that pen again. A couple more strokes of that pen and the whole law will be gone.

Kissmygrits on April 8, 2014 at 2:05 PM

To all those affected, remember this is a short term fix deceitfully intended to buy your vote. Don’t fall for it!

rjoco1 on April 8, 2014 at 2:06 PM

Where is the money to reinstate this? The Obama/Democrat budget approved these cuts.

Tater Salad on April 8, 2014 at 2:08 PM

I thought Obamacare was the “law of the land”.

Tater Salad on April 8, 2014 at 2:08 PM

I thought Obamacare was the “law of the land”.

Tater Salad on April 8, 2014 at 2:08 PM

It’s the Law of Neverland

forest on April 8, 2014 at 2:12 PM

At what point do we admit that the president and his administration are lawless, that no one in congress or the administration believes this nation will ever pay off its gargantuan debt, and that the rule of law means nothing in this nation?

Obamas changed ObamaCare 39 times, by his will alone, without so much as consulting congress.

That’s rank lawlessness from the executive branch.

Worse, Obama brags about it..”I’ve got a pen and a phone.”

The president’s friend, and frequent guest, Jay-Z, has taken to openly wearing the paraphernalia of “The Five Percenters”, an organization that can only be described as the black Klan.

Eric Holder has testified before congress that the president and the attorney general can literally interpret enforcement of the law any way they choose when questioned about the administration complacently allowing Colorado and Washington to openly defy federal drug legislation.

This administration, largely by vehicle of Obama’s Executive Orders, has gutted federal immigration law and abandoned any pretext of enforcement. A standing army of 12 million illegal aliens are currently at large in this nation. Foreign nationals, each and every one, either holding American jobs or costing the tax payers of this nation for their education, medical maintenance and support.

Obama has contrived to diminish this nation globally and his position of weakness has promoted and promulgated unrest, strife, terrorism, and warfare in nations around the globe. How many people have to suffer to satisfy Obama’s ego and the appetites of the LEFT?

If Obama weren’t half black, he’d have been impeached by now, but our congress is gutless and supine in the face of being labelled ‘racist’ for even attempting to hold this president liable for his action and accountable under the constitution.

Throw all of these bums out of office and elect some real, dedicated, decent public servants who believe in the rule of law.

thatsafactjack on April 8, 2014 at 2:12 PM

The problem for the communists is that we have an election every two years… So they need to keep delaying this mega disaster forever… Obamacare is practically dead, and Obama himself killed it…

mnjg on April 8, 2014 at 2:17 PM

…these cuts were to be made to pay for ObamaCare.

What comes after trillion?

Tsar of Earth on April 8, 2014 at 2:21 PM

Autocratic rule is so awesome. Keep voting Democrat!

Murphy9 on April 8, 2014 at 2:21 PM

Well for once the White House is blatantly transparent showing they’ll do anything to win elections.

darwin on April 8, 2014 at 1:42 PM

For once? You miss the part where they…

Happy Nomad on April 8, 2014 at 1:44 PM

I think darwin may have paused, as I did, on this paragraph:

The Obama administration announced Monday that planned cuts to Medicare Advantage would not go through as anticipated amid election-year opposition from congressional Democrats.

Translation: The administration has completed the takeover. They can do anything they want now. They don’t even need to slow down to candy-coat their edicts anymore.

Tsar of Earth on April 8, 2014 at 2:30 PM

Why are they doing this??? How about A New Democratic Poll Is Warning Of Midterm Disaster For Democrats http://finance.yahoo.com/news/democratic-poll-warning-midterm-disaster-140100926.html

RADIOONE on April 8, 2014 at 2:41 PM

This damn law cost me my job in the healthcare industry because of the obaka non-care reimbursement rates!!!

I will NEVER get that good paying, great benefits job back, regardless of what obaka does.

I DESPISE this muddufuka…

ladyingray on April 8, 2014 at 2:42 PM

So where’s the money going to come from Mr President. Or haven’t you thought that far ahead yet? Hell, it’s only 200 BILLION!

GarandFan on April 8, 2014 at 3:32 PM

The Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Services (CMS) said that the cuts weren’t necessary because of an “an increase in healthy beneficiaries under Medicare.” That, of course, makes little sense. Medicare is a mandatory insurance program for people 65 and older. How that demographic suddenly got “healthier” remains a mystery, but there you have the “reason” for the decision. Well, that and mid-term elections.

Government spokespeople and PR-writers from Carney on down:
Paycheck = Price Tag.

Marcola on April 8, 2014 at 6:05 PM

…is it still called “A Law”?

KOOLAID2 on April 8, 2014 at 7:41 PM

“All the king’s horses and all the king’s men, could not put America back together again…”…Thanks a lot liberal pukes.

bimmcorp on April 8, 2014 at 7:52 PM