3 million seniors to lose their existing drug plans?

Say, I seem to recall someone saying that under his plan to overhaul the American health-care system, if people liked their plans, they could keep them.  Of course, this is the same man who spent last Saturday scaring Grandma about how Republican proposals to privatize part of Social Security would ruin the really great government investment strategies that have SSA producing prodigious amounts of red ink now and, well, for the foreseeable future.  Grandma should be more worried about the bankrupt promises of Barack Obama on ObamaCare, as it appears over 3 million seniors on Medicare drug plans will have to look for other choices:

More than 3 million seniors may have to switch their Medicare prescription plan next year, even if they’re perfectly happy with it, thanks to an attempt by the government to simplify their lives.

The policy change could turn into a hassle for seniors who hadn’t intended to switch plans during Medicare’s open enrollment season this fall.

And it risks undercutting President Barack Obama’s promise that people who like their health care plans can keep them.

A new analysis by a leading private research firm estimates that more than 3 million beneficiaries will see their current drug plan eliminated as Medicare tries to winnow down duplicative and confusing coverage, in order to offer consumers more meaningful choices. Instead of 40 or more plans in each state, beneficiaries would pick from 30 or so.

“As a result of this policy, there are going to be fewer plans offered in 2011,” said Bonnie Washington, a senior analyst with Avalere Health, which produced the study. “There is still going to be robust choice for beneficiaries, but those who have to change plans could experience some disruption and inconvenience.”

In other words, 25% of the drug plan choices will get eliminated — in the first year of ObamaCare.  There will still be “robust choice,” at least in 2011.  How many will vanish in 2012?  2013?

Medicare is obviously not like private health insurance.  The government administers the benefits already, and they didn’t need ObamaCare to realign drug plans and make them more efficient.  And that’s part of the point, too.  The real problem for the federal government was in the federal entitlement programs of Medicare, Medicaid, and the Indian Health Service.  If they wanted to save money and effect real reform, Obama and the Democrats should have fixed the entitlement programs we already have without arrogating the power to turn the private health-care sector into a command economy.

The President shouldn’t have made promises he couldn’t deliver, either.  As the AP notes, this consolidation directly violates Obama’s pledge, offered incessantly and without qualification for almost a year.  With seniors set to come out to the polls in large numbers this November, it’s a pledge that will perhaps go down as the worst political promise since “Read my lips — no new taxes!”