In Ohio during an appearance yesterday, Vice President Joe Biden claimed the GOP Medicare plan would result in a bankrupt program by 2016 and become “vouchercare” where those on the plan would be on their own to use a voucher to find insurance.
Biden said this, and note he includes the phrase “buy Medicare.”
“They’re going to give you a voucher, which is essentially a coupon, and it’s going to be worth x-amount of dollars, and they’re going to say to your mom, ‘Mom go out there in that insurance market and bargain for the best deal you can get, including if you want to buy Medicare,’” he said. “If you’re going to cost more to get the benefits you’re now getting, they say, ‘Mom go borrow it somewhere.’ No, I’m serious, you’ve got to take it out of your pocket. Ladies and gentleman, that’s not fair and that’s not truthful. What they’ve told you is not on the level.”
The Romney camp responded to CNN via email. I don’t know what was included in the full email, but CNN and Biden side-step the fact traditional Medicare remains an option under the Romney/Ryan plan. Read this page. I get the impression you have to opt-in to an alternative plan, or you stay in traditional Medicare by default.
That said – and here is the important part of this post – Ed Morrissey pointed out yesterday that President Obama’s Health and Human Services Department is forcing 2 million seniors out of traditional Medicare programs into private health insurance plans overseen by the states during a pilot program. They will have to opt-out if they do not want to participate.
In his convention speech in Charlotte, President Obama vowed to block the Republican Medicare reform plan because “no American should ever have to spend their golden years at the mercy of insurance companies.”
But back in Washington, his Health and Human Services Department is launching a pilot program that would shift up to 2 million of the poorest and most-vulnerable seniors out of the federal Medicare program and into private health insurance plans overseen by the states.
The administration has accepted applications from 18 states to participate in the program, which would give states money to purchase managed-care plans for people who are either disabled or poor enough to qualify for both Medicare and Medicaid. HHS approved the first state plan, one for Massachusetts, last month.
Back to Morrissey, who points out this plan is being set up for the poorest of those who depend on both Medicare and Medicaid.
Bear in mind that Ryan’s plan made the vouchers optional; seniors could choose the traditional government-run Medicare plan or opt for a private insurance plan from a federal exchange of approved insurers. Ryan also allows all seniors to choose, and didn’t force the poorest seniors to take the voucher option. Not only will Obama push just the poorest seniors into this plan, in some states they’d have to know to opt back in to traditional Medicare.
As usual, the Obama political machine is saying one thing – private insurance companies are bad and will screw you so we’ll (the government) will take care of you – while all along knowing private insurance companies will be able to provide better service, with higher quality at a lower cost … so they have to pilot the programs quietly.
Update: Big Government picked up on this bit of hypocrisy.