Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Oh, we're talking about Medicare?  Let's talk about the Obamacare heist

Hey, Grandma!  Did you know that Obamacare is siphoning away $716 billion from Medicare?  Oh that might have escaped your notice.

What's more this three-quarter trillion dollar fund shift is going to be orchestrated by an unelected rationing committee called IPAB:
While Obama has shown appallingly little seriousness in dealing with our runaway deficit spending or the runaway entitlement spending that drives it, he does have his own plan to reduce Medicare costs. It relies upon the Independent Payment Advisory Board (IPAB), a creation of Obamacare.
The IPAB is a board of 15 unelected and largely unaccountable bureaucrats who would be empowered to cut payments to Medicare providers. In Ryan’s own words, “Obamacare … puts a new rationing board in charge of Medicare next year to start price-controlling Medicare to deny access to current seniors.” 
What does the chief accountant at Medicare say about this?
Under Obamacare and the IPAB — according to the Medicare chief actuary — Medicare providers would be paid less than Medicaid providers by the end of this decade.  Good luck getting in to see medical professionals when they wouldn’t even get paid as much to see you as they’d get paid for seeing Medicaid patients.
By all means let's keep talking about the one thing Obama never mentions on the campaign trail.

Extra - The Corner: "Obamacare changed everything."

More - The WashPost agrees: "Romney's right: Obamacare cuts Medicare by $716 billion.  Here's how."  The key takeaway is that they argue that Medicare benefits won't be cut, just reimbursement rates to hospitals who "agreed" to this as part of the Obamacare package to get more customers.  (Do hospitals have a unifying body to make these decisions?)  But blithely saying "the hospitals will pay" does not change the simple fact that medical access will wither if doctors aren't paid.

Once again, Medicare's chief actuary doesn't buy it either:
Even more important, however, is that Medicare's own fiscal overseer doesn't think that the projections are likely to prove accurate. In the actuary's note at the end of the report, Richard Foster, the program's chief actuary, warns that "the financial projections shown in this report for Medicare do not represent a reasonable expectation for actual program operations in either the short range (as a result of the unsustainable reductions in physician payment rates) or the long range (because of the strong likelihood that the statutory reductions in price updates for most categories of Medicare provider services will not be viable)."
You can keep believing "somebody else" will pay but there's no such thing as a free lunch.


Nigel Tufnel said...

This one has been out there a while. They were saying the same thing during the primaries.

The WashPost fact checker, quoted often by this blog, gave this two Pinocchios:

" In fact, House Speaker John A. Boehner (R-Ohio) recently had the audacity to claim that “the only people in Washington, D.C., who have voted to cut Medicare have been the Democrats when they voted to cut $500 billion in Medicare during Obamacare.”

This is surely an example of having your cake and eating it too. The Republicans had a chance to repeal those cuts when they voted to repeal the health care law, but instead they adopted “current law” (ie, the Medicare cuts) in their budget. Technically, we guess, that means they did not vote for them but, as we have documented, Republicans in the past have voted for similar Medicare cuts.

Bachmann’s assertion that Obama is stealing from seniors to benefit the young is undercut by the fact that the Congressional Budget Office, when it analyzed the Ryan plan, concluded that it would put significant pressure on people younger than 55, who would have no choice but to accept it. (The traditional fee-for-service plan of Medicare eventually would fade away as people now older than 55 die off.)

Medicare beneficiaries “would bear a much larger share of their health care costs than they would under the current program,” payments to doctors would shrink dramatically, states would have to pay substantially more for Medicaid and spending for programs other than Social Security and health programs “would be reduced far below historical levels relative to GDP [Gross Domestic Product],” the CBO said.

In other words, the young would potentially lose under the Ryan plan.

Romney was not asked about the Ryan plan during the debate and his spokesman did not respond to a question about whether he saw a difference in the use of the cuts. “The Governor’s statement is factually correct – Obamacare is financed in part by cuts to Medicare,” said Eric Fehrnstrom.

The Pinocchio Test

Romney’s statement (and, to some extent, Boehner’s recent remark) fall in the category of technically correct but misleading. It’s rather rich for Republicans to complain about $500 billion in supposed cuts to Medicare that they themselves would retain, even under the cover of helping Medicare."

Anonymous said...

You can keep believing "somebody else" will pay but there's no such thing as a free lunch.

As opposed to Paul Ryan, who says no one will pay, and today's lunch is Soylent Green.

Obamacare or Medicare: which one covers electoral spine-breaking? said...


GOP PROS PRIVATELY PANICKING ABOUT RYAN PICK: "Away from the cameras, and with all the usual assurances that people aren't being quoted by name, there is an unmistakable consensus among Republican operatives in Washington:Romney has taken a risk with Ryan that has only a modest chance of going right - and a huge chance of going horribly wrong ," Alex Burns, Maggie Haberman and Jonathan Martin report. "In more than three dozen interviews with Republican strategists and campaign operatives - old hands and rising next-generation conservatives alike - the most common reactions to Ryan ranged from gnawing apprehension to hair-on-fire anger that Romney has practically ceded the election. It is not that the public professions of excitement about the Ryan selection are totally insincere. It is that many of the most optimistic Republican operatives will privately acknowledge that their views are being shaped more by fingers-crossed hope than by a hard-headed appraisal of what's most likely to happen. And the more pessimistic strategists don't even feign good cheer: They think the Ryan pick is a disaster for the GOP. Many of these people don't care that much about Romney - they always felt he faced an improbable path to victory - but are worried that Ryan's vocal views about overhauling Medicare will be a millstone for other GOP candidates in critical House and Senate races."

Eric said...

So, let me get this straight: it's correct that Obama's going to carve $716 billion out of Medicare but the Republicans wanted to do the same thing so it's...false? Except even Obama admits he's taking money from Medicare.

Three things: 1) Romney said he would reverse the Medicare raid. 2) Ryan's plan would have cut Medicare as part of his plan to reduce the deficit and bring this country back to fiscal sanity.

Third - and this is the best - Obamacare uses Medicare as a piggybank to siphon money away. So not only does it take money from Medicare, it hastens the program's eventual bankruptcy. In typical reality-defying fashion, Obama tried to claim that taking money from Medicare both extends the solvency of the program AND allows for funding of Obamacare. Bret Baier of Fox News cornered him on this double-counting in such a relentless fashion, Obama's White House staff had to intervene and save their precious off-teleprompter snowflake.

So, to recap: only one person in this debate is ACTUALLY stealing money from Medicare. It's Obama.

Finally, keep on believing that Obama made a better pick with Biden than Romney did with Ryan. Joe "I like to ride the choo-choo!" Biden is a one-man gaffe machine. Today he didn't know what century he lived in.

Nigel Tufnel said...

Is the WashPost fact checker a reliable source of information?

Eric said...

He's better than most "fact checkers". But here he says it's "misleading" because Ryan proposed the same cuts (but for a different purpose).

Furthermore, as a Constitutional scholar, aren't you a little bit shocked by the IPAB? Here's an unelected group of 15 dudes shuffling around a trillion dollars and (allegedly) Congress can only override this committee with a near-impossible supermajority.

What say you?

Nigel Tufnel said...

I say the government is very big and composed mostly of unelected dudes shuffling around scary-big amounts of money. The IPAB is a government advisory board, created by an act of Congress.

I recall a similar constitutional challenge to a base-closing board was struck down in the past.

I know that there has been and will continue to be a non-stop effort by the GOP to look for ways to stop this legislation from happening, despite their support of it in the past. Opposition to universal health care has become an article of faith on the right.

Once this death panel starts its work we will see the true horror of Dole's/Clinton's/Romney's/Obama's plans.

Here in the Bay State we have 98% health care coverage and low unemployment after a few years of Romneycare. But that could change.

Anonymous said...

These unelected shadow groups interpreting and enforcing national policy need to end. Goodbye, military.

Anonymous said...

I think I will rely on the opinion of Medicare's Chief Actuary than Obama or his sheep.