Obama-Romney-Ryan Medicare debate takes surprising turn


USA Today has the article Obama-Romney-Ryan Medicare debate takes surprising turn.

GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney, running mate Paul Ryan, and other Republicans are stressing $716 billion in cuts to Medicare that are part of President Obama’s health care plan.

That attack has forced Obama and company to play defense, even as they emphasize that Romney and Ryan want to turn Medicare into a voucher program that will cost seniors thousands of dollars a year.

The $716 billion in cuts are aimed not at Medicare recipients, but at health care providers, such as hospitals and medical device makers; they also target what the administration calls waste and inefficiency in Medicare.
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Obama aides quickly point out that Ryan included the $716 billion in Medicare reductions in his own budget, though Romney has not; the Republican candidate has vowed to repeal Obamacare in its entirety.

If you saw my August 13, 2012 post, GOP memo: ‘Don’t say entitlement reform’, this turn is no surprise at all.

The memo included a link to a 10-minute, 27-second YouTube video Shields had created in which he discusses a 2011 Nevada special House election Republicans had won. The race, Shields argues in the video, demonstrated how Republicans can successfully fight back against Medicare-centered attacks and “chase” Democrats “off the field on something they want to talk about.”

The video specifies exactly how the Republicans’ snake oil medicine was sold.  They are trying the same technique again.  Let us hope that this Democratic candidate is not asleep at the switch as was the Democratic candidate in Nevada.

In this most recent article:

Ryan said the cuts are hurting nursing homes and Medicare Advantage insurance plans…

Which just proves the point that the government run program is much more efficient than the private insurance run program.  The Medicare Advantage program is something that I use.  It provides a 15% incentive to private insurance companies to take over Medicare responsibilities from the government for anybody who signs up.  If the private insurance companies need a 15% incentive to do what traditional Medicare does without that incentive, it shows you the likelihood that turning over Medicare to private insurance companies will save money.  This Medicare Advantage issue that Ryan points to, when followed to its logical conclusion, shows you that their voucher plan for buying private health insurance will be a total failure.

So why do I use Medicare Advantage, and why am I not annoyed that Obamcare wants to do away with the wasteful incentives?   The private insurance companies use most of the 15% incentive for their own profit, but they include just enough sweeteners to make the plan attractive if you are willing to live with its limitations.  These limitations include restrictions on where I can live and how much vacation time I can take that is away from my principle residence.  It just so happens that our lifestyle in retirement is not affected by these restrictions.  The sweeteners are just enough to make it worthwhile for me, especially since the 15% incentive does not come out of my pocket.  If the government is willing to subsidize my purchase of Medicare Advantage over the money it normally uses for other Medicare clients, then I would be a fool not to take “advantage”.  The government is foolish to waste this money, but if the Republicans insist on it, my vote for Obama just isn’t enough to correct this foolishness.

If the removal of the 15% incentive causes private insurance companies to stop offering Medicare Advantage plans, then I will go back to regular Medicare and buy my own Medicare supplemental insurance.  With the improvements in the economy that will result from Obama’s economic plan, I might even be able to take long vacations in Florida that I would not have been able to take under Medicare Advantage.

Of course, our retirement is one long vacation, just not in Florida.

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