Posted by AzblueMeanie:
First, a pet peeve. I do not know why our sad small town newspaper the Arizona Daily Star has a policy of not publishing the byline of the reporter responsible for the AP wire service reports it publishes in its newspaper, but neither I nor anyone else should have to waste their time searching for the original AP report to learn the name of the reporter responsible for the report. Publish the damn byline!
The Arizona Daily Star published an AP report today on A brief explanation of GOP, Dem differences on Medicare. This report is by Ricardo Alonso-Zaldivar from the AP. This "brief explanation" does more to mislead readers than it does to inform readers, because it leaves out relevant facts and makes inferences not supported by facts. Not a well done analysis in my opinion.
This report appears to be a summary version of another report by Ricardo Alonso-Zaldivar from the AP which was a well done analysis. Undoing Obama Medicare cuts may backfire on Romney - Boston.com. So why did the editors of the Star not choose this earlier report which informs, rather than misleads its readers:
GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney's new promise to restore the Medicare cuts made by President Barack Obama's health care overhaul law could backfire if he's elected.
The reason: Obama's cuts also extended the life of Medicare's giant trust fund. By repealing them, Romney would move the program's insolvency eight years closer, toward the end of what would be his first term in office.
Instead of running out of money in 2024, Medicare's trust fund for inpatient care would go broke in 2016 without the cuts, according to estimates by the program's own experts.
The idea that restoring funding to Medicare could somehow hasten its bankruptcy is on its face absurd," said spokeswoman Andrea Saul. [Note: Never take budget advice from a media flack.]
Campaign officials say arcane federal accounting rules create a false sense of security about Medicare. They allow savings like Obama's cuts to also count toward funding other programs or reducing the overall deficit.
"Gov. Romney's plan is to repeal Obamacare and replace it with patient-centered reforms that control cost throughout the health care system and extend the solvency of Medicare," Saul said. "He will then implement real entitlement reform that places Medicare on a sustainable long-term footing so that future generations of Americans will not have to worry whether the program will be there for them."
But Obama's cuts were not directly aimed at Medicare's 48 million beneficiaries; instead they affect hospitals, insurers, nursing homes, drug companies and other service providers. Simply undoing the cuts would restore higher payments to those service providers. And that would cause Medicare to spend money faster.
The Obama campaign was quick to seize on the issue.
"The fact of the matter is, what Romney is proposing now is to roll all that back, which would mean that Medicare would reach insolvency eight years earlier, which would mean that seniors would lose benefits," David Axelrod, a senior political adviser to Obama, said Thursday on MSNBC's "Morning Joe."
Romney's running mate, Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan, kept the Obama cuts in his budget, which envisions greater savings by shifting future retirees into private insurance plans with a fixed payment from the government to help cover their premiums.
"If you are going to restore (Obama's cuts), then what it's going to do is complicate the financial condition of Medicare," said former U.S. Comptroller General David Walker, a fiscal conservative who says government health care programs are too costly.
"It's going to affect your long-term plan to reform Medicare and reduce the deficit and mounting debt burdens," said Walker, now heading the Comeback America Initiative, which promotes deficit reduction.
"If you are going to put that back, then how are you going to pay for it?" he asked.
Romney would "have to find other ways to get the cost down in the future," said economist Marilyn Moon, a former trustee overseeing Social Security and Medicare finances.
"These (Obama cuts) were all on service providers," said Moon, now director of the health program at the nonpartisan American Institutes for Research. Romney "would have three options: either cut it out of providers in a different way, ask beneficiaries to pay higher premiums in various ways, or raise taxes in order to pay for it."
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Obama "has taken $716 billion out of the Medicare trust fund," Romney told supporters. "He's raided that trust fund.
[This claim has been rated false by independent fact checkers. See Fact Check: Romney-Ryan 'pants on fire' - the $700 billion lie that will not die]
That [$716 billion] figure reflects the latest estimates of Obama's health care law by the Congressional Budget Office, covering a 10-year period from 2013-2022. It's a relatively modest share of total Medicare spending, currently about a $600 billion-a-year program.
"People need to look at what these spending reductions are before they conclude that they are really eager to undo them," said Paul Van de Water, a senior budget analyst with the liberal Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. "Why should Medicare beneficiaries want to pay more to providers to provide the same benefits?"
Despite its long-term financial problems, Medicare has been fairly stable since the passage of Obama's health care law. Premiums have remained about the same, reflecting a national slowdown in medical inflation. However, the brunt of the spending cuts has yet to be felt. Medicare's own economic forecasters have warned the cuts may prove politically unsustainable.
Romney has not spelled out full details of his Medicare plan. . .
Jonathan Cohn at The New Republic has more, If Somebody Is Raiding Medicare, It’s Not Obama. It’s Romney And Ryan:
Have you seen Mitt Romney’s new ad on Medicare?
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It’s not very subtle. And it’s not very true.
By now, you should know all about the hypocrisy of Romney attacking Obama for cutting Medicare. Paul Ryan put the same cuts in his budget plan. And while Romney has insisted he’d restore them, his budget doesn't have room for that. If he’s serious about his overall spending plan, then he’d surely have to cut Medicare by as much as Obama did. In fact, he’d probably have to cut it by even more. And that's just in the first ten years.
Still, the power of this ad is the appeal to senior citizens: Obama is taking your money and giving it somebody else. That’s why Romney and his allies keep saying that Obama “raided” Medicare. But, under the Affordable Care Act, a chunk of the money that comes out of Medicare goes right back into it. It helps seniors pay for prescription drugs, filling in the donut hole from Medicare Part D. It also allows seniors to get preventative care without co-pays, which means they can get an annual wellness visit, cancer screenings, and the like with no out-of-pocket costs. In the first half of this year, according to the Department of Health and Human Services, more than a million seniors have saved an average of $629 on their drug bills because of this assistance.
True, the majority of the money that the Affordable Care Act takes from Medicare doesn’t go directly to seniors. Instead, it goes to help non-elderly Americans get health insurance, either by enrolling in Medicaid or receiving tax credits to help pay for private insurance. The ad implies that transferring money in this way is wrong, but keep in mind that the money coming out of Medicare isn’t coming out of benefits. It’s primarily coming out of payments to health insurers and the rest of the health care industry, both of whom should be able to absorb it. (The government had been paying the insurers too much, according to multiple, independent analysis; cutting their subsidies was basically the same as cutting corporate welfare. The rest of the health care industry agreed to the cuts, in part because helping more people get insurance would create more paying customers for them.)
Maybe you think those trade-offs are fair and worthwhile. Maybe you don’t. But compare it to what Ryan and Romney have in mind. Ryan, again, has the same cuts in his budget. But he would rescind both the prescription drug assistance and the free preventative care. In other words, unlike Obama, Ryan would take benefits away from current retirees. And where would the money go? Ryan would it to offset other priorities in his budget, priorities that happen to include a very large tax cut for the rich.
So just to review:
Obama takes money away from the health care industry and uses it to help people pay their medical bills. Some of those people include seniors already getting help with their drug bills and free preventative care.
Ryan and, by implication, Romney takes the same money from the health care industry. But they also take away those new benefits for seniors, even as they find room in their tight budgets to cut taxes for the wealthy.
Like I said before, if somebody here is raiding Medicare, it’s not Obama.
"[T]his business about "raiding" Medicare? It's a naked appeal to selfishness and brazen misrepresentation of reality."