Saturday, August 25, 2012

Romney Medicare Plan to Increase Costs for Current Seniors – Because He Doesn’t Understand What He is Doing

But Will Claim He Does Anyway – Mitt is Very Generous with Your Money

To listen to the Romney – Ryan campaign one would think that Mr. Obama’s health care plans gut Medicare and that their plans keep Medicare costs to current recipients from rising.  The truth, it turns out, is jut the opposite.  If the Romney proposal to restore cuts in funding for various health care providers are restored, part of those higher payments will be paid by current recipients of Medicare.

This is a complicated issue, but the basic concepts are the following.

  1. In exchange for obtaining universal health insurance coverage providers agreed to accept reductions in the reimbursements for service they provide under Medicare.
  2. Restoring those cuts in reimbursements will result in higher Medicare expenses, some of which will be paid for by recipients.

Here is a better explanation.

Marilyn Moon, vice president and director of the health program at the American Institutes for Research, calculated that restoring the $716 billion in Medicare savings would increase premiums and co-payments for beneficiaries by $342 a year on average over the next decade; in 2022, the average increase would be $577.

Beneficiaries, through their premiums and co-payments, share the cost of Medicare with the government. If Medicare’s costs increase — for instance, by raising payments to health care providers — so, too, do beneficiaries’ contributions.

And those costs would be on top of the costs involved with a full repeal of the health care law, which would eliminate expanded coverage of prescription drugs, free wellness care and preventive checkups.

So what is going on here.  Politics, not reality nor integrity. 

“One can only wonder what’s going on inside their headquarters in Boston and among their policy people,” said John McDonough, the director of the Center for Public Health Leadership at Harvard. “But there are only two explanations: Either they don’t understand how the program works, which is hard to imagine, or there is some deliberate misrepresentation here because they know how politically potent this charge is.”

But Mr. McDonough is probably wrong.  What is going on here is both, the Romney people don’t understand the program, and as far as deliberate misrepresentation is concerned, well that’s the core of their campaign strategy on every issue.

But not to worry Romneyites, you can easily get away with all of this.  A combination of a compliant press corps and a complex issue is all you need.

In a rare circumstance where a politician can summarize things clearly, here is exactly what is going on.

“The bottom line,” said Representative Chris Van Hollen of Maryland, the senior Democrat on the House Budget Committee, which Mr. Ryan leads, “is that Romney is proposing to take more money from seniors in higher premiums and co-pays and hand it over to private insurance companies and other providers in the Medicare system.”

What, you expected something else?

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