Finally sorted out differences between Obama & Romney re Medicare

Obama law currently “saves” $716B from Medicare be reducing payment rates to Doctors & Hospitals by 31% (starting next year and increasing according to Medicare Trustees recent report) and by eliminating subsidies under Medicare for “Medicare Advantage” plans. The ACA (Obamacare) law was claimed to be “affordable” partly by using these Medicare “savings” to balance increased Medicaid costs to cover the uninsured.

Clearly, Obama takes from Medicare to fund ACA, hence the claim Obama “steals” from older Medicare patients and “gives” to younger Medicaid patients.

Romney promises to make NO changes to Medicare for those 55 and over, recinding these ACA cuts. He then goes with the Ryan plan to “save” Medicare by offering those under 55 the option to stay in Medicare OR accept subsidies toward paying for the health care plan of their choice.

So Obama applies price fixing, squeezing the providers and pretending that does not hurt recipients. That plan is current law and will apply to everyone.

But Romney exempts all elderly from any change and reinstates previous Medicare funding rates, trusting that competition and innovation in healthcare, under consumer pressure, will bend down the “cost curve” for those under 55, saving the Medicare program indefinitely (in its reformed form.)

Obviously, price controls can well lead to lines of old people (metaphorically) surrounding those hospitals and doctors willing to take a 1/3rd cut in reimbursements! …Obama is looking forward to being out of office then, and probably secretly expects Congress will simply grow the deficit indefinitely before facing that political pain!

Just as clearly, competition and innovation is not a sure thing, but just as with Obama, Romney has the fall back option of increased debt/taxes. Success at bending the “cost curve” depends on young people being able to buy better plans available by then, rather than opting for conventional Medicare.

Thus claims against Obama are more or less true; Romney’s plan involves risk for younger people, but absolutely preserves Medicare as is for the rest of the lives of those 55 and older.

Doing nothing ultimately destroys the nation, starting with various pieces of Medicare having to be funded out of debt starting as early as 2016 (disability insurance trust fund). See the Medicare Trustees report for details.

Bottom line: current law implementing cuts / price controls (Obamacare) is unacceptable to the elderly. Romney’s plan is likely overly optimistic, but exempts the elderly and offers the young more than they expect since they expect nothing will be left for them as is!

Thus on Medicare/Obamacare: advantage Romney.

Now on to the next issue!


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