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September 23, 2009

If You Tell the Truth, We Will Call You Out!

Oh snap! TPM Muckraker is really worried that Humana may not be the only insurer trying to scare seniors with lying lies make sure seniors know what the Congressional Budget Office testified about to Congress:

At 2:30, CBO Director Douglas Elmendorf testifies that the Chairman's mark would reduce Medicare Advantage benefits by "almost half" of what they are under current law. Before that, he testified that by 2019, Medicare Advantage's enrollment would decline by roughly 2.7 million people.

CBO Director Elmendorf at 1:47:

"Today, in the current MA system, beneficiaries who choose Medicare Advantage receive benefits that beneficiaries in the fee for service system do not receive."

But don't try to tell seniors that health care reform will reduce their benefits by 50% or the federal government will slap a gag order on you and lefty blogs like TPM Muckraker will cheer them on. Oh, and don't you dare let Grandma call her Congresscritter, because that would be "lobbying".

Yep. The elderly have no legitimate interest in the facts - especially if those facts would reduce their existing benefits by 50%. These people are pathetic.

Luckily, some Democrats aren't afraid of the truth ... or of an informed electorate:

KARL: And even some Democratic Senators are concerned that the bill now before the Senate Finance Committee reduces spending on Medicare Advantage by $123 billion.

SENATOR BILL NELSON (D-FL): I think it would be intolerable to ask the senior citizens on Medicare who have it to give up substantial health benefits that they're enjoying under Medicare.

Update: the Washington Post reports that Medicare Advantage funds will indeed be cut!

Proposed health reform legislation would sharply reduce funding for Medicare Advantage plans, and the insurance industry has been battling to prevent that from happening. The bill unveiled last week by Sen. Max Baucus (D-Mont.), chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, would directly cut payments to Medicare Advantage plans by an estimated $123 billion over 10 years, and it would indirectly reduce funding for those plans by another $15.6 billion, according to the Congressional Budget Office.

Apparently, CBO's testimony that Medicare Advantage benefits will decrease by 50% if the current health care reform proposal is enacted should by no means be considered "...important information about your Medicare Advantage plan".

In other words, "Shut up, stop asking questions, and fall in line."

Posted by Cassandra at September 23, 2009 12:00 PM

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" ... the federal government will slap a gag order ..."

Is there really a "gag order"? Has anyone actually seen the "gag order"? What court issued the "gag order"? Whom does the "gag order" specifically mention as being "gagged"?

Posted by: I Call BS at September 23, 2009 12:49 PM

It's all over the Internet.

What part of:

.... we are instructing you to end immediately all such mailings to beneficiaries and to remove any related materials directed to Medicare enrollees from your website.

...is hard to understand? This NPR story links the letter:

At the behest of Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus, D-Mont., the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services fired off a letter to Humana ordering it to cease and desist with the mailings. For good measure, CMS told other companies not try anything like it either.

The letter was also linked in at least one of the supporting links to my posts on this topic. I don't have time to tell you which one.

Posted by: Cassandra at September 23, 2009 01:03 PM

ICBS -- How's that "Read Every Third Paragraph And Skip All The Links" speed reading course working out for ya?

Posted by: BillT at September 23, 2009 02:26 PM

"... Elmendorf at 1:47:

"Today, in the current MA system, beneficiaries who choose Medicare Advantage receive benefits that beneficiaries in the fee for service system do not receive."

Surely AARP is all over this, making sure everybody knows about it?

Posted by: ZZMike at September 24, 2009 02:41 PM

The only way AARP could get any deeper into the tank for ObamaCare would be with a drilling rig...

Posted by: BillT at September 24, 2009 03:38 PM