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This site is the inspiration of a former reporter/photographer for one of New England's largest daily newspapers and for various magazines. The intent is to direct readers to interesting political articles, and we urge you to visit the source sites. Any comments may be noted on site or directed to KarisChaf at gmail.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Seniors in the Obamacare bull’s-eye -- By Douglas Holtz-Eakin, The Washington Times

Illustration by Greg Groesch/The Washington Times (Illustration by Greg Groesch, The Washington Times)

Fewer plans and doctors will degrade care of the elderly

"If you like your health care plan, you can keep it" is a promise that rings in political infamy. The magnitude of the deception has only begun to become apparent.

Certainly, the administration thought it was in hot water over millions of canceled individual-market policies in 2013. It better brace itself, though, for the wrath of seniors who will suffer the fallout of the budgetary attack on Medicare Advantage plans.

Obamacare financed its assault on existing insurance arrangements in part by $156 billion over 10 years in direct cuts to Medicare Advantage plans — cuts to be exacerbated by indirect spillovers from changes in the Medicare Advantage funding formula.

It is inevitable that funding cuts will take their toll on these plans. By my math, the Kaiser Family Foundation's 2014 Medicare Advantage Spotlight shows that seniors enrolled in 349 Medicare Advantage plans received cancellation letters, and a portion of the seniors enrolled in 194 plans were advised that their plan no longer operated in their region.

That's a pretty big market adjustment (26 percent of 2,074 plans), considering that only 4 percent of the anticipated Medicare Advantage cuts have transpired.

The administration could try to respond to plan cancellations using the same playbook as with the individual market — dismissing those as "inferior" plans.

That excuse will not hold up in the ever-popular Medicare Advantage program, though. All plans must meet a minimum level of services, and must compete on the merits of price and quality for Medicare beneficiaries.
Instead, the administration will be forced to admit to seniors that it gutted a well-liked and efficient program to funnel the money into Healthcare.gov and other misadventures.

Will the Obamacare crafters own up to asking seniors on a fixed income to pay more for their health care so subsidies can be given to families making four times the federal poverty level?

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