Last updated on: 10/18/2012 1:58:37 PM PST
Will Obamacare’s Cuts to Medicare Reduce Benefits for Part A (Hospital Care), Part B (Outpatient Care), and Medicare Advantage Part C?
Paul Ryan, US Representative (R-WI), stated in his Aug. 29, 2012 acceptance speech at the Republican National Convention, available at www.politico.com:
"You see, even with all the hidden taxes to pay for the health care takeover, even with new taxes on nearly a million small businesses, the planners in Washington still didn't have enough money. They needed more. They needed hundreds of billions more. So, they just took it all away from Medicare. Seven hundred and sixteen billion dollars, funneled out of Medicare by President Obama. An obligation we have to our parents and grandparents is being sacrificed, all to pay for a new entitlement we didn't even ask for. The greatest threat to Medicare is Obamacare, and we're going to stop it…"
Betsy McCaughey, PhD, former Lt. Governor of New York State wrote in her Sep. 12, 2012 article “ObamaCare's Cuts to Hospitals Will Cost Seniors Their Lives,” available at www.FoxNews.com:
"President Obama is wooing seniors with promises to protect Medicare as they've known it. On the defensive because of the $716 billion his health care law takes from Medicare, Obama assures seniors he's cutting payments to hospitals and other providers, not their benefits.
Don't be bamboozled. It's illogical to think that reducing what a hospital is paid to treat seniors won't harm their care. A mountain of scientific evidence proves the cuts will worsen the chance that an elderly patient survives a hospital stay and goes home. It's reasonable to conclude that tens of thousands of seniors will die needlessly each year.
Under ObamaCare, hospitals, hospice care, dialysis centers, and nursing homes will be paid less to care for the same number of seniors than if the health law had not been enacted. Payments to doctors will also be cut."
Alyene Senger, Research Assistant at the Heritage Foundation, wrote in her article “Obamacare Robs Medicare of $716 Billion to Fund Itself,” published by the Heritage Foundation Blog on Aug. 1, 2012 at www.blog.heritage.org:
"In total, Obamacare raids Medicare by $716 billion from 2013 to 2022. Despite Medicare facing a 75-year unfunded obligation of $37 trillion, Obamacare uses the savings from the cuts to pay for other provisions in Obamacare, not to help shore up Medicare's finances.
The impact of these cuts will be detrimental to seniors' access to care. The Medicare trustees 2012 report concludes that these lower Medicare payment rates will cause an estimated 15 percent of hospitals, skilled nursing facilities, and home health agencies to operate at a loss by 2019, 25 percent to operate at a loss in 2030, and 40 percent by 2050. Operating at a loss means these facilities are likely to cut back their services to Medicare patients or close their doors, making it more difficult for seniors to access these services.”
Jim DeMint, US Senator (R-SC), wrote in a Aug. 27, 2012 post titled "President Obama's Two-fold Dishonesty on Cutting Medicare Benefits" available at www.demint.senate.gov:
"…the President said that 'I've proposed reforms that will save Medicare money by getting rid of wasteful spending in the health care system. Reforms that will not touch your Medicare benefits.'
There's only one problem: That statement is flat-out FALSE. The President HAS enacted cuts to Medicare benefits -- namely, additional means-testing in Obamacare --and proposed even more Medicare benefit cuts...
...the fundamental problem is the President's twofold dishonesty when it comes to cutting Medicare benefits. First, in saying that he hasn't proposed cutting Medicare benefits when he has. Second, and just as importantly, in the way he has proposed cutting those benefits -- all the benefit changes the President proposed in his budget would not take effect until 2017, after he leaves office.”
Sarah Kliff, Health Policy Reporter for the Washington Post, wrote in her Aug. 14, 2012 article “Romney’s Right: Obamacare Cuts Medicare by $716 Billion. Here’s How,” available at www.washingtonpost.com:
"The Medicare Advantage cut gets the most attention, but it only accounts for about a third of the Affordable Care Act's spending reduction. Another big chunk comes from the hospitals. The health law changed how Medicare calculates what they get reimbursed for various services, slightly lowering their rates over time. Hospitals agreed to these cuts because they knew, at the same time, they would likely see an influx of paying patients with the Affordable Care Act's insurance expansion.
The rest of the Affordable Care Act's Medicare cuts are a lot smaller. Reductions to Medicare's Disproportionate Share Payments — extra funds doled out the hospitals that see more uninsured patients — account for 5 percent in savings. Lower payments to home health providers make up another 8.8 percent. About a dozen cuts of this magnitude make up [the rest]…
It's worth noting that there's one area these cuts don't touch: Medicare benefits. The Affordable Care Act rolls back payment rates for hospitals and insurers. It does not, however, change the basket of benefits that patients have access to.”
Rick Ungar, Forbes Contributor, wrote in his Sep. 25, 2010 article "Does Obamacare Really Cut Medicare Benefits to Senior Citizens?," available at www.forbes.com:
"Among the many narratives injected into the public debate over health care reform, I find the most disturbing to be the notion that our senior citizens will experience cuts in their Medicare benefits as a result of Obamacare…
It simply isn't going to happen…
As of September 23, 2010, seniors are entitled – free of charge – to an annual physical along with free diagnostic tests such as mammograms and colonoscopies. No co-payments… no changes in deductibles… no increase in Part B premiums… no need for anything beyond your ‘run of the mill' Medicare participation…
Let us assume for the moment that, as a result of receiving much lower payment rates from Medicare, some Medicare Advantage programs cease operating or diminish their benefits to the detriment of their customers. What, exactly, will these beneficiaries lose? Medicare Advantage participants may lose their health club memberships, and possibly, their vision and dental, all of which they will still have the opportunity to buy if they are willing to pay an additional premium…"
The Kaiser Family Foundation wrote in its issue brief, “Summary of Key Changes to Medicare in 2010 Health Reform Law,” available online at www.kff.org (accessed Sep. 6, 2012):
"…[Obamacare] improves coverage of prevention benefits. Beginning in 2011, no coinsurance or deductibles will be charged in traditional Medicare for preventive services that are rated A or B by the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF). Medicare will cover a free annual comprehensive wellness visit and personalized prevention plan…
Authorizes Medicare coverage of personalized prevention plan services, including an annual comprehensive health risk assessment, beginning January 1, 2011.”
The US Department of Health & Human Services stated in its Aug. 20, 2012 press release “People with Medicare Save More Than $4.1 Billion on Prescription Drugs,” available online at www.hhs.gov:
"During the first seven months of 2012, the new health care law has helped nearly 18 million people with original Medicare get at least one preventive service at no cost...
Prior to 2011, people with Medicare had to pay extra for many preventive health services. These costs made it difficult for people to get the health care they needed. For example, before the health care law passed, a person with Medicare could pay as much as $160 for a colorectal cancer screening. Now, many preventive services are offered free of charge to beneficiaries, with no deductible or co-pay, so that cost is no longer a barrier for seniors who want to stay healthy and treat problems early.
In 2012 alone, 18 million people with traditional Medicare have received at least one preventive service at no cost to them...”