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Wednesday, January 08, 2014

Are cuts in Medicare (mainly Medicare Advantage) more of the magical social justice of Obamacare?

As this Forbes article by Scott Gottlieb explains,Medicare Advantage programs are in the cross hairs of the Obama administration as ACA continues to roll out benefits for some and just roll over others.

Obamacare is partly funded by cuts to Medicare Advantage,a program popular among low income seniors,particularly those who may not be able to afford the medicare supplements plans.More of these plan members are being shifted to Medicaid, a health care delivery "system" generally perceived as something less than typical care that one obtains under Medicare. If social justice means redistributing stuff around so that the most disadvantaged are benefited. you have to wonder how diminishing the health care for one group of lower income folks to enable another group of low income folks to have insurance cards( not health care but cards) is any type of justice at all. Cuts to Medicare Advanatage had been postponed so that they kick in after the 2012 election, will they be postponed again with the administration's eye on the 2014 elections?

Quoting Dr. Gottlieb:

"The net effect of all of these cuts is already expected to shrink the program. The Obama Administration is disproportionately shifting these cuts onto so-called Medicare “special needs” plans. These are Medicare Advantage plans that are specifically designed to enroll patients with certain serious and costly chronic illnesses like diabetes and heart disease. Many of these patients are low income, and dually eligible for both Medicare and Medicaid. "

 We are seeing more strange social justice in the situation in which the program at least nominally designed to help the most sick of those in Medicare Advantage will be cut the most (that is unless the administration decides to post pone it again in the run up to the next elections).

John Goodman also covers this issue here.

"About one of 20 seniors on Advantage had to switch plans because their old coverage was cancelled, but the damage has been particularly acute in a category called special needs plans, or SNPs. More than 1.5 million people were covered by about 500 of these plans in 2013, but the consultants at Avalere Health report that 13% were wiped out."

Being old and sick and poor is becoming more dangerous for some to help pay for insurance cards for some others who may also be sick and poor.   

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