But now HHS announces that , at least for the short term- that is until the 2012 elections, payments will increase for Medicare Advantage Programs. See here.
It was a decrease in the Medicare Advantage Payments ,along with cuts to hospitals and other providers, that was to provide about half of the funding for the expanded insurance coverage to low income folks. It was projected that some 137 billion would be saved from cuts to Medicare Advantage programs. The alleged savings was touted to also extend the solvency of the Medicare Part A Trust fund.
The actions of HHS in this regard is typical of what George Will references as the "administrative state" which the United States have (has?) morphed into. In the "administrative state", Congress passes "sentiments" not laws, and delegates to the administrative tentacles of the Executive Branch the authorship and administration of the various rules that make the Congressional sentiments operational.See here for Will's comments.
Woodrow Wilson envisioned a government that would be run by experts who would be unencumbered by the messy give and take of politicians who would stray from what was right and good for the people by the actions of various interest groups and their own selfish urges. Somehow the only PhD to occupy the White House did not realize that the experts of the various agencies might themselves posses human characteristics that steer them to act for political reasons. It is hard to consider the recent actions of HHS other than being politically motivated.