By now everyone knows that a large piece of Obamacare’s “deficit neutrality” comes from the provision that would eliminate Medicare Advantage programs for seniors. This will “save” the government some $136 billion over 10 years.
Medicare Advantage is despised by the left because it is privately run, and demonstrates to all that “market pricing and competition” are far more effective than total government control of health care. Conversely, seniors like Medicare Advantage because it covers the costs of virtually all medical treatment, and at a price far less than a senior would pay for one of those “nifty” Medigap policies sold by AARP, assuming, of course, that a senior could afford one of those policies. Currently, 25% of all seniors are enrolled in Medicare Advantage, and that figure is rising at the rate of 6% per year.
Last Friday, Health and Human Services released its annual “call letter,” which introduces the formula that will set Medicare rates for 2012. Out of nowhere, per capita Medicare Advantage payments will increase by 1.6% on average. The update was 0% for 2011, and most Wall Street analysts were forecasting a negative update for the coming year…
Just as the Department of Health and Human Services has recently “helped” some 2.1 million Americans “keep” the insurance they have (that they otherwise would have lost under this year’s Obamacare rules), the same department is now “helping” seniors keep their Medicare Advantage.
Why the sudden shift?
Well, we are going into “election” mode, and it just wouldn’t do to have millions of Americans feel the brunt of Obamacare…at least not yet.