Thursday, February 2, 2012

Medicare Savings, Florida Follow Up, Doc Fix

Thanks To Health Reform

"The Obama administration announced Wednesday that the Medicare Advantage program, which allows seniors to receive health coverage through a private insurer, is enjoying lower costs and more customers as a result of the health care reform law.  Medicare Advantage enrollment has risen 10 percent over the last year while average premiums have fallen by 7 percent, said Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius. She also pointed out that similar improvements were seen the previous year.  The figures bolster President Obama’s defense of his signature achievement, and for Democrats it has the added bonus of refuting earlier Republican warnings that 'Obamacare' would gravely undermine the choice provisions in Medicare."

“'At the time the Affordable Care Act was passed, Republicans in Congress said the bill would virtually end the Medicare Advantage program,' declared senior White House staffer Nancy-Ann DeParle.  'Those predictions turned out to be wrong.  Medicare Advantage is stronger than ever -- offering more seniors better benefits, higher quality care and lower costs.'"

Long, Negative Race Good For Dems

"Perceived as the Romney alternative, Gingrich has strong motivation to stay in the race as it enters the February caucus states and heads toward Super Tuesday.  Yet, prolonging the primary process all spring, as Gingrich threatens to do, risks marginalizing the issues while magnifying the negative ads and personal attacks.  Such a campaign alienates the critical voice in the general election -- independents -- and allows Obama to skate unchecked."

"Florida voters repeatedly stated in interviews that they wanted to hear answers to the nation’s housing and foreclosure crisis, the deficit, and the instability of Social Security and Medicare.  Instead, the tactical politics of the establishment-vs.-insurgent civil war gave them only personal attacks, both in debates and on the airwaves.  Ninety-two percent of the political advertising on Florida TV stations in the past week (Monday to Monday) was negative, according to analysis by Kantar Media/CMAG, a Virginia media consulting firm."

Negotiations Resume

From Kaiser Health News -- War Savings May Be Key To Long-Term 'Doc Fix' Deal:  "KHN's Mary Agnes Carey talks with Jackie Judd about the congressional conference committee trying to hammer out a bargain on a payroll tax cut extension and the Medicare 'doc fix.'  If the conferees -- who are now discussing the possibility of a permanent 'doc fix' -- fail to agree to a proposal, doctors who see Medicare patients are in line for a 27 percent cut slated to take effect in March."

Everyone seems to taking a more serious and less strident approach, as well as a softer tone, compared to the first round.  Hopefully, this is an issue that now can be addressed in a more or less bipartisan manner.

Follow Up

The Republican Reality-Free Zone


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