ObamaCare and Medicare


The Obama administration has consistently taken the position that the new health care law won't cause individuals to change their health care plans and doesn't cut Medicare benefits. In fact, administration officials say, the law actually extends the solvency of Medicare. But the only way they can make that claim is by relying on accounting practices that both the Congressional Budget Office and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services say amount to double counting. Meanwhile, millions of seniors are expected to be shifted off their current Medicare advantage plans by 2019. 

As Michael Ramlet and former CBO director Douglas Holtz-Eakin pointed out in a recent briefing, the new health care law took hundreds of millions of dollars out of Medicare and, rather than using it to shore up the program, plowed it into a new entitlement. The law's authors also failed to produce a genuinely sustainable solution to the "doc fix" problem—which is why the current-law scenario for the federal budget assumes that we'll soon see a large cut to physician reimbursements. And because the authors nabbed Medicare funding to pay for their new program, trimming the entitlement—arguably the single biggest long-term problem for the federal budget—probably won't be part of the deficit-reduction package.

Republicans, with a few exceptions, aren't much more savvy about fixing the program. The GOP has responded to the PPACA's cuts largely by circling the wagons around Medicare and promising not to touch it, which obviously isn't a viable long-term policy either.

No, the takeaway from all of this isn't, as some Republican politicians seem to think, that changes to Medicare and its benefits ought to be avoided at all costs. Indeed, significant changes will be required to put the program on a sustainable, manageable fiscal footing. Instead, it's that the president and his allies tried to sell the public on the new health care law by insisting, over and over again, that current health plans and Medicare benefits wouldn't be affected. Did the administration know how the law would play out in advance? Maybe, maybe not. But no matter what, many of the promises the president and his allies made about the law just ain't true.

NEXT: A "Funeral Exception" to the First Amendment?

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  1. Instead, it’s that the president and his allies tried to sell the public on the new health care law by insisting, over and over again, that current health plans and Medicare benefits wouldn’t be affected lying their asses off.

  2. insisting, over and over again, that current health plans and Medicare benefits wouldn’t be affected

    We said “effected,” not “affected.” We continue to insist that PPACA will not effect current health plans and Medicare benefits.

  3. damn – twofer. I just used this quote in the above article on show trials. But if the evasions fit, use it
    When I use a word,” Humpty Dumpty said, in a rather scornful tone, “it means just what I choose it to mean – neither more nor less.”
    “The question is,” said Alice, “whether you can make words mean so many different things.”
    “The question is,” said Humpty Dumpty, “which is to be master – that’s all.”

  4. Slow news day on the ObamaCare front.

    Is Suderman required to produce a blog post about ObamaCare daily? The last few have been a little slight.

    1. Thanks for flagging this for me Brad.

      Suderman obviously has a computer and lots of free time.

      So he’s got nothing better to do than slander a bunch of dedicated public servants trying to bring America real health care reform.

      1. See, fake trolls, this is the correct way to spoof a liberal dipshit. Nothing too over the top, just some mild idiocy and a lot of self-righteousness.

        1. Dunno. This:
          “slander a bunch of dedicated public servants”
          was a dead tell.

  5. Are these “cuts” actual cuts, or baseline budgeting cuts?

  6. On this blog, I think most of us understand that Medicare is a big government welfare program that should not exist and should never have been enacted. The Republicans who believe that (not all do) have a tough choice. They cannot advocate abolishment during an election and expect to get the senior vote.

    The problem is how to get from here to a there without Medicare, assuming the votes to accomplish abolition. And, what can they say to the electorate that won’t generate a pack of lies from the Democrats (The answer of course is there is nothing they can say that would prevent that).

    Entitlements once enacted are tough to get rid of. That is why Obamacare must die by repeal before it gets a good foothold. I say, make President Obama veto a repeal bill and use that veto against him in the 2010 election. Then repeal it for real with a new President who will not veto it.

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