October 13, 2010

Breaking: President Obama Medicare Official Concedes that Health Care Reform Will Cost Seniors. The Mayor of Providence is a Fan of ObamaCare. So Who is the Real Threat to Senior Benefits?

Monique Chartier

Presumably operating on the belief that he cannot get a political promotion without resorting to slander, the mayor of Providence has stood in front of numerous senior gatherings in the last month and solemnly stated that if his opponent, John Loughlin, is elected, he would privatize (read: take away) social security for current recipients. This, of course, is completely false.

Conversely, the mayor is open about his support of health care reform ObamaCare despite the fact that, though it was ineffectively camoflaged by double counting, it was known from its inception that ObamaCare would gut $500 billion from Medicare. We may have all been hoping, however, that this would not hit for a decade, during which time it could be fixed. New developments have vanquished that hope.

A couple of weeks ago, citing concerns about the long term viability of such supplemental programs, Harvard Pilgrim dropped 22,000 seniors in Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and Maine from its Medicare Advantage coverage. [Emphasis added.]

The decision by Wellesley-based Harvard Pilgrim, the state’s second-largest health insurer, was prompted by a freeze in federal reimbursements and a new requirement that insurers offering the kind of product sold by Harvard Pilgrim — a Medicare Advantage private fee for service plan — form a contracted network of doctors who agree to participate for a negotiated amount of money. Under current rules, patients can seek care from any doctor.

Now, POLITICO is reporting that

The Obama administration A Medicare official concedes that some seniors will have to dig deeper into their wallets next year thanks to the health care law.

A new analysis obtained by POLITICO finds the health care overhaul will result in increased out-of-pocket costs for seniors on Medicare Advantage plans.

[The original POLITICO post had attributed this announcement to President Obama.]

To review, John Loughlin, candidate for the First Congressional District, is no threat to the social security checks of current recipients. By contrast, his Democrat opponent supports health care reform, which is already impacting the wallets of some seniors and which the White House has admitted will adversely affect all seniors on Medicare.

So. In light of this new information, shall we revisit which of these candidates would do a better job for seniors in Congress?

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I've been wondering why Loughlin hasn't jumped on this obvious self contradictory position that Cicilline has taken?

Posted by: joe bernstein at October 13, 2010 4:44 PM

It's not just the fact that Republicans are now posing as staunch DEFENDERS of Medicare a program they have HATED ever since the days when Ronald Reagan warned that Medicare would destroy America's freedom. Nor is it even the fact that, as House speaker, Gingrich personally tried to ram through deep cuts in Medicare — and, in 1995, went so far as to shut down the federal government in an attempt to bully Bill Clinton into accepting those cuts.

After all, you could explain this about-face by supposing that Republicans have had a change of heart, that they have finally realized just how much good Medicare does.

And if you believe that,

Posted by: Sammy at October 13, 2010 6:27 PM

Cicilline was wrong about Loughlin's social security stance, but your own headline is misleading. Obama has conceded no such thing. An actuary for Medicare simply said that health care reform will add some costs to a small number of Medicare existing plans. Kathleen Sebelius's letter, however, which was linked in the same politico article, pointed out the benefits to Medicare resulting from health care reform and the alternatives it presents.

Your headline is "Obama concedes that health care reform will cost seniors," and the article seems to be saying Obama himself (or someone in the administration anyways) said health care reform will be a net loss for some seniors. But that's simply untrue. An actuary--who is non-partisan, I believe, and not speaking for the administration--only pointed out some costs. He did not say it was a net loss, just that there are some costs. Big difference. Your headline and post, however, didn't point it out. It seems just as misleading as you're saying Cicilline is.

Posted by: Joe at October 13, 2010 6:35 PM

Thanks, Joe. POLITICO had changed their article from the time that I had cut and pasted it.

Sorry, Sammy, this is not about Republicans, it's about David Cicilline. He's campaigning on the lie that Loughlin would deprive seniors of something when, in fact, the initiative which Cicilline supports has ALREADY had the effect of depriving seniors. And will continue to do so at an accelerated pace.

The question remains, BY THE STANDARD SET BY DAVID CICILLINE, who will represent the best interest of seniors in Congress?

Posted by: Monique at October 14, 2010 8:00 AM

If the Obama admin did not say this then why not change the article that you wrote to reflect that or print a retraction. I supose putting a line through the text is your way of showing that you still think the Obama admin feels this way or just your way of pointing the finger at them for a percieved wrong. I know you would expect or demand more if it had been about a conservative or on a liberal blog.

Posted by: triple richard at October 14, 2010 9:44 AM

3xRichard, the strikethrough is a way of showing what originally existed, so a blog writer can't hide behind her own deletions when shown to be wrong. It's actually an honest thing to do, you're reading into it wrong. The corrections were made and the prior errors are being admitted. It's actually pretty responsible compared to deletion.

Posted by: Patrick at October 14, 2010 5:31 PM

Thanks, Patrick! I would only add, if it's not clear from the post, that it was POLITICO which had erroneously attributed to the president the confirmation of their analysis. The newly uncovered fact that health care reform is being implemented at the expense (literally) of seniors in Medicare supplement programs unfortunately still stands.

So, Triple Richard, what do you think about the substance of the post? Isn't Mayor Cicilline's case that his policies in Congress would be better for seniors now highly questionable, to say no worse?

Posted by: Monique at October 14, 2010 7:40 PM

Monique-don't hold your breath.the constantly angry,hectoring leftists here only answer what and when it suits them.They will,however,DEMAND answers and explanations as well as justifications from conservaatives-let's not indulge them anymore.
They can talk to themselves.
None of them here can approach the odious "klaus"on Kmareka for sheer obnoxious demeanor.

Posted by: joe bernstein at October 14, 2010 8:19 PM

Monique, I find everything the Mayor C says to be highly questionable and in doubt. As a resident of Tiverton and as someone who knows him personally, I will be voting for John Loughlin. i find him to be an ethical man and a Republican only bu Rhode Island standards. What you did with you cross out instead of a real retraction was morally and ethically lazy but par for you course.

Posted by: triple richard at October 15, 2010 11:42 AM

Triple Richard,

This can't be the first time you've seen a strikethrough on a blog posting. It's a universally accepted practice across the blogosphere when modifying an existing post. The alternative, deleting and replacing text with no record of the previous language, would be dishonest. It would be akin to the Soviet practice of airbrushing purged party officials from old news photos to pretend they never existed; Which is probably why you prefer it that way.

Posted by: David P at October 15, 2010 12:32 PM

Okay David it may be done but clearly this was a case on Monique having it both ways. I can only imagine the intense effort it would have take to print a correction or retraction. I can see how that would compare to the Soviet Union. By the way David what evidence or facts do you have to state that I would like things like they did in the Soviet Union? What commie views have I expressed here that would allow you to make that leap of logic?

Posted by: triple richard at October 15, 2010 4:23 PM

The Weekly Standard article is nonsense. There is no such animal as a "Medicare Advantage private fee for service plan." There is traditional fee-for-service Medicare, and there are Medicare Advantage plans, different beasts entirely. Advantage plans were invented in '97, but didn't come into vogue until Part D hit in '03. You recall Medicare Part D, right? A 50 billion dollar unfunded liability passed through reconciliation by a Republican majority? The largest entitlement expansion in 50 years? Part D mandated an expansion of the Advantage programs - free market and all that. The Government encouraged private insurers to manage Medicare patients by offering them capitated per patient fees above and beyond typical Medicare payouts. The private insurers in turn offered slightly expanded services, as well as management of the new drug benefit Republicans were happily handing to seniors (at non-negotiable, drug company mandated prices (free market indeed!)). Because of the additional services, the private insurers offered only a limited network of doctors for Advantage patients, as opposed to fee-for-service Medicare patients, who could (and still can) see any damn doctor they like.

So the Standard Article is claiming that an imaginary breed of Medicare Benefit, the "private fee for service plan", is cutting services to seniors by limiting the doctors they have access to, which is in fact how Advantage plans were designed by republicans seven years ago.

Part D's mandated overpayments to Advantage plans were a galling inefficiency in the system, and one anyone who claims fiscal responsibility should be happy to see cut out.

Posted by: Scott at October 15, 2010 11:25 PM