President Obama Did Not “Steal $700 Billion From Medicare”

by Norm Gregory on August 13, 2012

in Politics

Update: 05:48 PM, August 15

The Truth-O-Meter Says red arrowMostly False

Mitt Romney said Barack Obama robs Medicare of more than $700 billion to pay for Obamacare
The claim that Obama cut $700 billion out of Medicare is relatively new. Not long ago, the oft-cited number was $500 billion. How did he manage to cut another $200 billion when no one was looking?

First things first: Neither Obama nor his health care law literally cut a dollar amount from the Medicare program’s budget.

Rather, the health care law instituted a number of changes to try to bring down future health care costs in the program. At the time the law was passed, those reductions amounted to $500 billion over the next 10 years. ● More: PolitiFact

I am sick of hearing that “Obamacare” is stealing billions from Medicare.

Republican after Republican repeat the lie. By the way, Republicans can’t seem to figure out how much they think Obama stole. Reince Priebus – the RNC Chairman – said $700 billion yesterday on “Meet The Press;” last week Mitt Romney says it was $500 billion. When you’re lying so blatantly … what’s a couple of hundred billion anyway?

The Affordable Care Act does not cut Medicare benefits.

I know what it does because I am on Medicare. I have the paper work right here in front of me.

Here’s what the ACA, thankfully, does do: It expands Medicare coverage by making preventive services free, including adding a yearly wellness visit; it limits some cost-sharing in private Medicare plans, meaning the costs seniors pay are lower; and it closes the Part D “Donut Hole,” saving many seniors a lot of money on prescriptions. That Part D closure has saved me over $1,000 this year. I have heard that ACA has already saved seniors $4 billion on prescription drugs.

The cuts Romney is talking about, the cuts that Republicans have been harping about since 2010, are not benefit cuts. They are cuts in overpayments to supplemental Medicare Advantage plans. Overpayments by the government that were reduced, thereby saving the government—and taxpayers—money.

Not only were no Medicare recipients benefits cut, the changes have actually succeeded in increasing enrollments in Medicare Advantage, while reducing the costs to seniors.

I have a Medicare Advantage Plan with Regence/Blue Shield and love it. I do not mind that I’m paying a little more because of the equalization. I recognize that other Medicare recipients should not have to subsidize the health care benefits I have earned. Medicare Advantage plans also provide Medicare recipients the choices Republicans dishonestly claim that Medicare lacks.

Need more proof/information?

Read on . . . on how ACA will actually slow the growth of Medicare expenses. Instead of Medicare’s being cut, there will be much more spending at the end of a 10-year window (which we are two years into now) according to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services AND the Kaiser Family Foundation.

Fact-Checking Romney: Does Health Reform Cut Medicare, Levy $500 Billion Tax?

ABC News’ Chris Good and Shushannah Walshe report:

In expressing his opposition to Thursday’s Supreme Court ruling, Mitt Romney provided some jaw-dropping numbers as to why he believes the Affordable Care Act (ACA) is “bad policy” and a “bad law.”

“Let me tell you why I say that. Obamacare raises taxes on the American people by approximately $500 billion,” Romney told reporters. “Obamacare cuts Medicare by approximately $500 billion. And even with those cuts, and tax increases, Obamacare adds trillions to our deficits and to our national debt, and pushes those obligations onto coming generations.”

So, where does the Romney campaign come up with those numbers?

They cite a memo written by Richard Foster, chief actuary of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (part of the U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services),  that claims the ACA will, says Romney, “cut Medicare by more than $500 billion.”

So does it “cut” Medicare by $500 billion? ● More: ABC News

I am not going to get into the Romney/Ryan plan which provides a depreciating coupon (voucher). But let me just say that because it is indexed to increase at a rate way below health care costs, it will buy less and less coverage every year. Seniors who cannot buy enough to meet their medical needs would be on their own, because Romney and Ryan would have deprived them of the guaranteed care Medicare now provides. There is no way their “vouchers” will cover the cost of private insurance.

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

1 ned neltner August 14, 2012 at 2:53 pm

Thank you Norm. Too much lying. And when you lie often enough and the media keeps repeating your lie, it gains a lot of traction. So when Obama supporters try to point this out….it sounds like denial.

I have a good/conservative/independant/libertarian friend who is also on Obamacare, like yourself. He absolutely SWEARS by it. Says he’s never gotten such good care so inexpensively.

Oh, well. Again, thanks.

2 Russell Dee August 14, 2012 at 11:21 pm

President Obama did not steal $700 billion from medicare. What happened is this: Because President Obama made ObamaCare happen the health providers were pleased because ObamaCare will result in the health providers getting millions and millions more customers. Obama made providers give medicare cuts as part of the deal. So Obama used the new customers that providers are going to get from ObamaCare as leverage to get medicare health providers to reduce costs for medicare patients. Obama used that savings to give more benefits to seniors, such as closing the doughnut hole. If Romney is elected then Romney will kill ObamaCare and then the providers won’t have any reason to give those cuts to medicare and so seniors will lose their doughnut hole coverage. If seniors elect Romney they will lose those benefits that Obama got them when Obama negotiated with the providers.

3 Russell Dee August 14, 2012 at 11:33 pm

In my previous post I stated that Obama is using money he got from health providers for the benefit of seniors. The money is going to pay for seniors to get better benefits, such as closing the doughnut hole. Obama is also using money that he believes he can save by stopping fraud and abuse. None of the money to pay for the new benefits is coming from seniors. It is coming from reducing fraud and abuse, and from the providers. The providers are basically giving the money to medicare because the providers are pleased to be getting millions and millions new customers by way of ObamaCare. Because Obama’s Obamacare has brought the providers millions and millions of new customers the providers basically expressing their thanks by giving seniors some new benefits such as closing the doughnut hole. If ObamaCare is defeated then seniors will lose those new benefits that Obama got them. If Romney wins the election then seniors will lose those new benefits that Obama got them.

4 Norm Gregory August 15, 2012 at 1:21 am

All these numbers flying around make most folks’ eyes glaze over.

What really is at the root of this debate . . and it won’t be a real debate until we get to it . . . is a huge deference in political philosophy. Those who believe in less/no government where we all are on our own and tough luck if you can’t make (Ayn Rand though it stupid to donate to charity). . . and then there are those of us who think we are the government who can do so much more together . . . and what we have is a revenue problem. Not a spending problem.

By the way, any president, including a president Romney, can’t end the Affordable Care Act on their own. His election won’t mean seniors will automatically “lose those new benefits that Obama got them.” Congress will have something to say about it.

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