Medicare and Obamacare. How does it affect you? Will you be able to keep your doctor or be forced in to a health care cattle shoot?
It is an election year and promises are flowing like water. But beyond the rhetoric, you need to be concerned about what they are NOT saying.
Much has been said about Obamacare but very little about how Medicare is affected by the president's signature health plan.
Did you know there are 2 million seniors that will be guinea pigs in a great experiment to "save" Medicare? Selected seniors will be sent through a cattle shoot into an experimental managed care program. The chosen ones are among the poorest and most vulnerable Medicare beneficiaries.
Patients who qualify for both federal health programs are a costly population and include many who need nursing-home care or other expensive services. About 40 percent of Medicaid’s costs go toward patients who are also eligible for Medicare. Advocates of the pilot program also say it could lead to better coordination of care for patients who often struggle to navigate the two different programs.
National Journal, Obama Medicare Rhetoric, September 2012
Many times Medicare and Medicaid overlap. These individuals are known as "dual eligibles". They qualify for Medicare, but also Medicaid, the health insurance program for the poor.
These are people who are 100% dependent on the government taxpayer for their care.
But there are those in Washington that oppose this move, including Sen. Jay Rockefeller, one of the authors of the part of Obamacare that made this program possible.
“I urge you to take immediate steps to halt this initiative as currently structured and to take the time necessary to develop a well-designed and thoroughly evaluated care coordination model for dual eligibles that meets the standards outlined in the law,” Rockefeller wrote in a letter to HHS.
The Medicare Payment Advisory Commission, a group of experts who advise Congress on Medicare policy, has also weighed in with an 11-page letter to HHS, warning that the speed and scope of the program raised questions about whether patients would receive the care they need.
Scott Gottlieb, a former health official in President George W. Bush’s administration, called the program “immoral.”
“Why are we taking the duals, who are entitled to Medicare benefits, and moving them into Medicaid?” asked Gottlieb
So how is the Obama approach to health care and health insurance different from the Romney-Ryan plans?
The Medicare reform plan championed by GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney and his running mate, Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin, would encourage more seniors to move into managed-care plans by giving them vouchers to purchase insurance. The idea is to create a marketplace that would compete with traditional Medicare for customers.
Obama has repeatedly warned that this approach would lead to the demise of traditional Medicare, one of the most popular government programs. He has also attacked Romney’s proposal to give states fixed sums to care for Medicaid patients, a change from the current system in which the federal government matches a portion of state spending.
So the Romney plan gives seniors a CHOICE, while the Obama plan makes the choice for you.