When George McClellan first took command of the Union armies around Washington, he issues a frantic report claiming that the Confederates had over 100,000 soldiers facing him in Virgina. (The real number was less than half that). Union General Winfield Scott, who sensed that McClellan was exaggerating wildly, responded with a remark for the ages: “General McClellan hereby places himself on record.”
I’m reminded of “Old Fuss and Feathers” remark as I read Democrats place themselves on record defending Obamacare.
Let’s have some fun!
Whatever amount you want to use, the Affordable Care Act doesn’t “cut Medicare” – it saves Medicare by reducing expenses. Let SeniorCorps.org explain:
Despite the doom and gloom tactics of some members of congress and talking heads, the cuts will come from two prime sources; (1) eliminating Medicare fraud, and (2) a reduction in the amount of payments that are paid into Medicare Advantage programs that are offered by private insurance companies.
Let’s count by the numbers!
First, we’re going to cut costs by eliminating fraud! Three problems I see with that fanciful assumption:
1. “Fraud” is a relative term. A Medicare expense that I think is fraudulent, may seem proper to you.
2. Since when, in human history, has fraud ever been eliminated?
3. Fraudsters aren’t all stupid. Some of them are very clever and very hard to catch. You can be sure that many of them will be much smarter than the political apparatchiks the Democrats will hire to chase the crooks.
Oh, I think fraud will be around for quite a while. To be sure, Baja Democrats says that improved fraud protection in Obamacare “enables the Medicare Administration to significantly reduce this waste.” But, if you don’t catch enough fraudsters, how can you significantly decrease Medicare costs?
Second, reducing the amount of payments that are paid into Medicare Advantage programs that are offered by private companies. Let’s see what the fish had to say about this:
Medicare administrative costs average 3-4%, while private insurance companies’ administrative costs average around 15%. One reason is that the Medicare Administration doesn’t pay hundreds of millions in salaries & benefits to CEOs like the big insurance companies do. And private insurance companies don’t like to lose money, so they got the Republicans to include a “risk adjustment” factor into the Medicare Advantage program that guarantees the insurance companies will always get paid more than their actual cost. It doesn’t matter if their higher costs are from bloated administrative costs or actual benefits paid out to enrollees, they always get paid more.
I’ve every confidence that Denise and David did due diligence in their research, so I’ll concede those figures in the first sentence. I’ll also concede the risk adjustment factor. And, I agree that insurance corporations pay their leaders big salaries.
Of course, insurance corporations are businesses that respond to stockholders and can be—and often are—sued. Companies often fire under-performing leaders, lest their business fail. (By contrast, government bureaucracies are much more insulated, much harder to challenge and much less interested in efficiency. Try firing a career civil servant—especially one who knows how to play the system. Plus, if you irritate one department of the government [by, say, filing a complaint against Medicare], you run the risk of OTHER parts of the government [the IRS, the building inspector] taking much, much more interest in you personally.)
So, what is Obamacare’s remedy?
The Affordable Care Act remedies that by reducing and capping payments to insurance companies offering Medicare Advantage policies. The leaner, more efficient companies will do just fine and continue to offer policies, while the companies with bloated costs will abandon the market.
What happened to…”if you like your health plan, you can keep it?” Or, “if you like your doctor, you can keep seeing him/her?” I guess there were expiration dates on those promises.
And seniors don’t lose a single benefit – if they don’t fine find a Medicare Advantage policy that meets their needs they simply re-enroll to get those benefits directly from Medicare.
“seniors don’t lose a single benefit.” I LOVE it when people go on record!
That last statement presumes that Medicare can continue paying the benefits its paying now, well into the future. Raise your hands if you think that’s realistic.
American society has changed drastically in the past three decades. We baby boomers whose salaries funded decades of expanding entitlements are now drawing on those entitlements. We are living much longer; that means we’ll place an even greater demand on Medicare. Our national debt has skyrocketed and is projected to keep on going up and up and up.
Given all that, do you really think that seniors won’t “lose a single benefit?” You don’t expect to see ANY services eliminated or curtailed, or co-pays to go up?(I’m sure that, if those things happen, most people would view that as losing benefits.
Or, we could just keep up the deficit spending. And run up more bills for our children and grandchildren to pay.