Thursday, September 24, 2009

Crist's Puppet LeMieux Has No Clue What He's Talking About

From FDP:

While it is not surprising that Sen. George LeMieux (R-Cronyism) would ingore facts, in favor of doing the only thing he knows how to do – working to promote Charlie Crist’s political ambition – it sure is disappointing that LeMieux, Crist and their Republican Party of “NO” have chosen lies over facts. See below.


Obama Said That Health Insurance Reform Would Not Cut Medicare Benefits. Obama: "It's not going to reduce Medicare benefits. What it's going to do is to change how those benefits are delivered so that they're more efficient." [New York Times, 7/22/09]

The Health Care Bill Would Achieve Key Efficiencies And Eliminates Fraud And Waste In Medicare Without Making Any Cuts That Hurt Seniors. “The House bill requires hospitals, doctors, and pharmaceutical companies to achieve key efficiencies and eliminate waste in Medicare (including eliminating overpayments that are driving up profits for Medicare Advantage plans) and toughens our ability to root out fraud and abuse – but does not make cuts that hurt seniors. It also does nothing to take away choices for seniors.” [Office of the Speaker, 7/22/09]

The Health Care Bill Would Improve Provisions To Improve Medicare For Seniors, Including Filling The “Donut Hole” In The Medicare Prescription Drug Benefit. “On the contrary, the bill includes several key provisions that improve Medicare benefits for seniors, including the following: Phases in completely filling in the ‘donut hole’ in the Medicare prescription drug benefit (where drug costs are not reimbursed at certain levels), potentially savings seniors thousands of dollars a year; Eliminates co-payments and deductibles for preventive services under Medicare; Limits cost-sharing requirements in Medicare Advantage plans to the amount charged for the same services in traditional Medicare coverage; and Improves the low-income subsidy programs in Medicare, such as by increasing asset limits for programs that help Medicare beneficiaries pay premiums and cost-sharing.” [Office of the Speaker, 7/22/09]

AARP: RNC Statement Is “Misleading And Alarmist,” And “The Proposed Medicare Savings Do Not Limit Benefits, They Do Not Impose Rationing.” The Wall Street Journal reported that, “[t]he Republican Party issued a new salvo in the health debate Monday with a ‘seniors' health care bill of rights’ that opposed any moves to trim Medicare spending or limit end-of-life care to seniors. Intended as a political shot at President Barack Obama, the Republican National Committee manifesto marks a remarkable turnaround for a party that had once fought to trim the health program for the elderly and disabled, which last year cost taxpayers over $330 billion…The country's largest lobbying group for seniors, AARP, said it welcomed the RNC's commitment to protect Medicare. But the group, which supports efforts to overhaul the health-care system, also dismissed the RNC statement as misleading and alarmist. ‘Change by itself is anxiety producing, but as we have analyzed the various bills [before Congress], the proposed Medicare savings do not limit benefits, they do not impose rationing and they do not put the government between patients and their doctors,’ said John Rother, AARP's executive vice president.” [Wall Street Journal, 8/25/09]

AARP Clarified That “Medicare Cuts That Have Been Proposed So Far Would Not Affect Benefits.” The Washington Post reported that, “Tom Nelson, AARP's chief operating officer, said, ‘Indications that we have endorsed any of the major health care reform bills currently under consideration in Congress are inaccurate.’ Like Obama, AARP wants action this year to cover the uninsured and restrain health care costs, but the organization has refrained from endorsing legislation. Nelson said AARP would not endorse a bill that reduces Medicare benefits. A spokesman said the Medicare cuts that have been proposed so far would not affect benefits.” [Washington Post, 8/11/09] A Small Number Of Medicare Advantage Would Face Reduced Benefits, But Never Less Than Participants In Traditional Medicare Receive. "The vast majority of Medicare recipients would see little change in their interactions with the health care system under the bills currently pending. But it’s probable that some unknown number of the 22 percent of seniors, or more than 10 million individuals, who participate in Medicare Advantage programs would indeed need to pay more out of pocket, change plans or face reduced benefits – though never less than participants in traditional Medicare receive." [, 8/31/09]

Politifact: The House Health Care Bill Would Change Benchmarks Set To Payments In Medicare Advantage, Making Them Equal To What The Government Pays For Traditional Medicare Services. "Obama also wants to save money on the Medicare Advantage program, which covers about one-fifth of all Medicare patients. 'We do think that systems like Medicare are very inefficient right now, but it has nothing to do at the moment with issues of benefits,' Obama said in his speech in New Hampshire. 'The inefficiencies all come from things like paying $177 billion to insurance companies in subsidies for something called Medicare Advantage that is not competitively bid, so insurance companies basically get a $177 billion of taxpayer money to provide services that Medicare already provides. And it's no better — it doesn't result in better health care for seniors. It is a giveaway of $177 billion.' Indeed, a June 2009 MedPAC analysis said that the Advantage plan costs taxpayers on average of 14 percent more than the traditional Medicare plan. The House bills propose to change the benchmarks that set the payments, making them equal to what the government pays for traditional Medicare services. According to the Congressional Budget Office, those changes would translate to a savings of $156 billion over 10 years. [Politifact]

Obama's Plan Is To Reduce Payments To Medicare Advantage So They Are Equal To Regular Medicare. "Obama and many congressional Democrats see Advantage as a wasteful bonanza averaging about $17 billion a year for the companies, which critics say provide few benefits beyond regular Medicare. The companies and their supporters say they earn the extra payments by providing seniors -- who pay nothing extra -- with significant benefits, including freedom from government red tape. ... [Obama's] plan is to reduce payments to Advantage so that they are equal or comparable to the payments for regular Medicare." [Los Angeles Times, 8/19/09]

The AARP Supports Cutting Back Subsidies To Private Insurers In Medicare Advantage So They Are On A Level Playing Field With Medicare. AARP spokesman Jordan McNerney said: "We are in support of cutting back the subsidies to private insurers over time so they compete on a level playing field with traditional Medicare." [Los Angeles Times, 8/19/09]

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