Health Care7 June 2016

Notes from Norm: Taking Advantage of Medicare Advantage

We’ve all heard it before. “If it ain’t broke don’t fix it!”

Well, apparently everyone except Barack Obama and liberals in Congress who have slowly, but meticulously, gutted Medicare Advantage by taking a broken health care system and making it even more broken by giving us ObamaCare.

In order to fund ObamaCare, the President and his liberal allies in the Congress cut more than $715 billion from Medicare – including billions of cuts to the Medicare Advantage program.

It is a commonly held belief that of the many government programs taxpayers have to pay for the one that has proven itself successful time and time again is Medicare – and for America’s seniors – Medicare Advantage has been central to their access to health care services for years.

For those unfamiliar with Medicare Advantage, it is important to note that it is a great example of a public-private partnership that actually works.

Basically, Medicare Advantage is a Medicare health plan that is offered by a private company – which contracts with Medicare.

As explains, “Medicare Advantage Plans include Health Maintenance Organizations, Preferred Provider Organizations, Private Fee-for-Service Plans, Special Needs Plans, and Medicare Medical Savings Account Plans.”

Medicare Advantage enrollees receive all of their Medicare Part A and B benefits.

Medicare Part A typically covers hospital, skill nursing facility, nursing home, hospice or home health services care.

Medicare Part B typically covers clinical research, ambulance services, durable medical equipment, mental health and prescription drug coverage.

It is important to understand that while this post is not about ObamaCare, it is about the consequences of the law on Americans, particularly seniors, who depend on Medicare Advantage for their health care needs.

I’ve written extensively about the coming collapse of ObamaCare. Premium increases of as much as 45%, private insurers abandoning the marketplace and a failed economic model will ultimately spell the doom of this health care white elephant.

Not surprisingly, the same logic that the President and liberals used to justify the creation of ObamaCare is at play in their absolute disregard for Medicare Advantage.

That logic is that any health care policy that involves the private sector is bad for consumers and must be dismantled in favor of a government-centric plan regardless of the cost – or its capacity to adequately deliver health care to the American people.

There are nearly 18 million seniors in the United States who depend on Medicare Advantage for their health care.

Six years after the implementation of ObamaCare, America’s seniors are just now seeing just how serious these cuts are to their Medicare Advantage plans.

According to research by the American Action Network (AAN), “In February, the Obama Administration proposed further MA cuts for seniors in 2017 due to Obamacare. Altogether, these cuts result in an annual benefits cut of $2,976 (or 21.8 percent), when compared with MA projections before Obamacare…”

As the AAN notes on the website, “Medicare is a health care safety net for millions of seniors across America. But instead of keeping promises to America’s seniors, Obamacare breaks them. The failed health care law cuts Medicare by over $700 Billion, including $156 Billion from Medicare Advantage, to help pay for Obamacare. These cuts can result in higher costs, fewer choices and reduced access for seniors. And under the guise of “negotiation,” the Obama administration is trying to give bureaucrats more control over seniors’ access to prescription drugs.”

Now, I know that my liberal friends want us to watch the shiny ball of how many people have signed up for health care through ObamaCare to justify shoving the plan down the throats of the American people.

They have long ago dismissed complaints that increasing premiums – and private insurers abandoning the ObamaCare marketplace – as anything other than mindless partisan carping.

Yet, we know that massive double-digit premium increases are coming for millions of Americans who have now come to depend on ObamaCare as their primary source of health care.

These massive increases don’t even take into the account the coming crisis of access to plans and health care as more private insurers simply throw up their hands because of the failed financial models that were used to justify the creation of ObamaCare.

To learn more about just how significant the cuts to Medicare Advantage are going to be to millions of America’s seniors, I would urge readers to go to and read some of the important research work done by the American Action Network experts.

And, if you want to learn about how these cuts are going to impact the lives of people in your own community – including yourself, I urge you to go to DontCutOurMedicare/MA-Cuts and see the Medicare Advantage cuts in your congressional district.

Be ready for your toes to curl!

In Minnesota, for example, in the 8th Congressional District – there are over 81,000 residents enrolled in Medicare Advantage. Based upon analysis by the AAN, those residents will see a cut of $1,840 in Medicare Advantage payments or roughly a 17% reduction!

In the state’s 4th Congressional District, the nearly 62,500 enrollees will see an 18% cut – the 7th Congressional District’s 76,177 enrollees will see a 9% reduction — while those in the state’s 5th Congressional District will see a whopping 22% cut and those in the state’s 1st Congressional District will see a 16% reduction in Medicare Advantage payments.

Interestingly, most of these districts are represented by liberals who either joined with the President to create ObamaCare which has directly led to these cuts in Medicare Advantage, or they have made it clear that they think ObamaCare is a great example of progress in health care reform.

For the over 338,000 residents of those congressional districts they may not see progress defined as reductions in access to their critical health care services.

Few can deny that America continues to have a health care crisis. Yet, what the President and liberals want millions of Americans to believe is that there is no gain without pain when it comes to reforming health care.

In their minds, it was worth the pain to seniors.

Seniors who are now finding Medicare Advantage – a shining example of a government program that actually works well – being robbed of resources to pay for a health care plan that is soon likely to collapse upon its own weight of failed assumptions and foolish expectations.