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-   -   Obama Government about to announce cuts in Medicare (http://www.chiefsplanet.com/BB/showthread.php?t=281664)

HonestChieffan 02-22-2014 09:50 AM

Government about to announce cuts in Medicare
 
This should set well with older Americans. Senate Candidates must be ready to stab themselves with help like this coming from the Emperors Folks. The Cuts were in the bill but like everything else with this monster of a turd, its meaningless till it hits home. If in fact the cuts are passed on, it will be interesting to see what outfits like AARP who has been a Obama campaign arm will do or say.


U.S. health insurers brace for new steep Medicare cuts
BY CAROLINE HUMER
NEW YORK Thu Feb 20, 2014 1:06am EST

(Reuters) - The U.S. government is expected to announce this week the proposed payment rates for insurer-run Medicare plans in 2015, but industry officials say the anticipated cuts will mean higher co-pays and fewer benefits for seniors.

Of the more than 50 million older Americans who receive coverage through Medicare, about 15 million are enrolled in Medicare Advantage plans offered by companies such as UnitedHealth Group Inc, Humana Inc and Aetna Inc. The rest use Medicare fee-for-service programs, in which doctors are reimbursed by the government for patient visits and procedures.

Each February, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services proposes reimbursement rates that it agrees to pay insurers for managing the privately run programs. It publishes a final rate 45 days later.

Insurers are bracing for a proposed cut of around 6 to 7 percent when the government makes the information public in an announcement expected on Friday, according to the latest industry and analyst forecasts. Health insurance executives have been lobbying against cuts of that magnitude, saying they would have no choice but to pass on a significant part to seniors to keep their business intact.

Aetna, which has about 1 million Medicare Advantage members, said that to keep costs in line with cuts in recent years, it has changed its network of doctors and hospitals to be more cost-effective, among other efforts.

"If you can't solve the reduction based on those activities, then you have to resort to things that are much more visible to the beneficiaries, which can range from benefit reductions, and either premium increases or the introduction of a premium," said Fran Soistman, executive vice president and head of Government Services at Aetna.

Another possibility for insurers is eliminating plans and withdrawing from certain markets. Many did that last year after the government cut rates by nearly 6 percent.

"The concern is that a second consecutive 6 percent cut to the program will be devastating for seniors," said Robert Zirkelbach, spokesman for the healthcare industry's key trade and lobbying group, America's Health Insurance Plans. Their campaign has included TV, print and online advertising as well as a sign on Washington city buses, telling viewers that "Seniors are Watching" when it comes to Medicare Advantage benefits.

CONTAINING LEAKS

The announcement could put pressure on President Barack Obama's administration as it defends its signature healthcare law, the Affordable Care Act, from attack ahead of the 2014 elections. Early technical failures hampered enrollment in insurance plans and new fees and healthcare taxes have gone into effect, providing Republican opponents of the law with ammunition to call for its delay.

Insurers, which worked closely with the government to help fix early enrollment problems, are hoping that partnership will help their lobbying effort to influence the 2015 Medicare rates.

The U.S. government has been cutting payment rates for Medicare Advantage as part of an overall reduction in healthcare spending required under the law and as it seeks to bring the program fees closer to the ones it pays through the Medicare fee-for-service program.

CMS is balancing the need for these spending cuts with the potential political backlash. A group of 40 senators, both Republicans and Democrats, recently called on the agency to maintain Medicare Advantage payment levels and prevent disruption.

The rate announcement due out this week has been widely anticipated by insurers and investors this year, after information on last year's release of the final rates was leaked to investors ahead of time. As a result of that, stocks in insurers with large Medicare Advantage businesses jumped higher just before the market close because the payments were not as low as investors had expected.

A Wall Street Journal report found that a lobbyist who was working for Humana had been involved in the leak. The story prompted investigations by the Department of Justice, Republican Senator Charles Grassley of Iowa, Humana (which fired the law firm of the lobbyist), the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services and its Office of the Inspector General.

When asked about any changes the agency is taking this year concerning the announcement, a spokeswoman for CMS said that the agency is "committed to releasing Medicare payment policies in a time and manner that is appropriate and consistent with statutory requirements." She did not provide a comment on the probe into last year's incident.

The U.S. Justice Department and the Office of the Inspector General declined to comment.

Humana did not have an immediate response, and Grassley's office did not return a call seeking comment.

This week's announcement is unlikely to affect industry stocks unless it comes in far below or far above 6 percent, according to CRT Capital analyst Sheryl Skolnick.

"It is by no means a secret. Everyone knows it is coming and everyone knows it is going to be bad," Skolnick said.

The final rate announcement is expected on April 7.

(Reporting by Caroline Humer; Editing by Michele Gershberg, Amanda Kwan and Ken Wills)

FD 02-23-2014 02:11 PM

Sounds like a good start, but we really need bigger spending cuts and they need to take effect sooner. Medicare is out of control and accounts for the vast majority of our long term overspending and deficit problems.

theelusiveeightrop 02-23-2014 03:28 PM

The cuts should be deeper, like 10%.

donkhater 02-23-2014 04:20 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by theelusiveeightrop (Post 10448896)
The cuts should be deeper, like 10%.

There should be mandatory 10% cut across the entire budget, not just Medicare.

HonestChieffan 02-23-2014 08:17 PM

It will be interesting. The cuts may be real. The cost will be spread across those forced into ObamaCare. Not quite what many hoped for. Again, ObamaCare settles upon the young.

At some point, the truth will settle in.

FD 02-24-2014 01:04 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by HonestChieffan (Post 10449506)
It will be interesting. The cuts may be real. The cost will be spread across those forced into ObamaCare. Not quite what many hoped for. Again, ObamaCare settles upon the young.

At some point, the truth will settle in.

You think Obama should increase spending on entitlements like Medicare?

Amnorix 02-24-2014 01:16 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by FD (Post 10450748)
You think Obama should increase spending on entitlements like Medicare?


There's no logical consistency in HCF's positions except "Obama is bad, everything that happens under his watch is bad, and the first lady is a wookie."

If you keep that in mind, you'll understand all his posts better. If there are Medicare cuts, he's screwing seniors. If he doesn't, he's allowing entitlement programs to run rampant. etc. ad infinitum.

Just remember -- Obama is the anti-Christ and everything he does (or doesn't do) is bad.

FD 02-25-2014 11:18 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Amnorix (Post 10450767)
There's no logical consistency in HCF's positions except "Obama is bad, everything that happens under his watch is bad, and the first lady is a wookie."

If you keep that in mind, you'll understand all his posts better. If there are Medicare cuts, he's screwing seniors. If he doesn't, he's allowing entitlement programs to run rampant. etc. ad infinitum.

Just remember -- Obama is the anti-Christ and everything he does (or doesn't do) is bad.

Sounds about right.

Cochise 02-25-2014 11:20 AM

HCF aside, this will definitely have a negative impact on health care organizations around the world that are already struggling to figure out how they are going to keep the books balanced under Obamacare.

Reducing MC/MA reimbursment is only going to hurt them more. And that drives costs upward, not downward, for everyone.

King_Chief_Fan 02-25-2014 11:30 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by FD (Post 10450748)
You think Obama should increase spending on entitlements like Medicare?

i don't think increase spending is the idea, but employers and tax payers have paid significant $$ over the years for those programs to be in place.
I would accept a check from Unlce Obama that was equal to just what I paid in over the last 40+ years to SS and Medicare. They wouldn't have to worry about taking care of me in my later years.

FD 02-25-2014 11:38 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by King_Chief_Fan (Post 10452804)
i don't think increase spending is the idea, but employers and tax payers have paid significant $$ over the years for those programs to be in place.
I would accept a check from Unlce Obama that was equal to just what I paid in over the last 40+ years to SS and Medicare. They wouldn't have to worry about taking care of me in my later years.

I bet the government would happily take you up on that since the average retiree today is receiving 3-4 times more in Medicare benefits than he ever paid into it. This program is bankrupting out country and needs dramatic cuts to even be sustainable.

HonestChieffan 02-25-2014 12:46 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Cochise (Post 10452783)
HCF aside, this will definitely have a negative impact on health care organizations around the world that are already struggling to figure out how they are going to keep the books balanced under Obamacare.

Reducing MC/MA reimbursment is only going to hurt them more. And that drives costs upward, not downward, for everyone.

You get it. The cuts will end up costing the very people who seem so thrilled there are cuts.

HonestChieffan 02-25-2014 12:52 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by FD (Post 10452815)
I bet the government would happily take you up on that since the average retiree today is receiving 3-4 times more in Medicare benefits than he ever paid into it. This program is bankrupting out country and needs dramatic cuts to even be sustainable.

ACA will make medicare look like a stepchild. Low sign ups will drive young peoples costs through the roof. Administration costs cant even be calculated on the failed roll out and taxpayers will be bailing out insurance companies like never before seen. You are right medicare is in trouble. But ACA is way bigger

suzzer99 02-25-2014 12:57 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Amnorix (Post 10450767)
There's no logical consistency in HCF's positions except "Obama is bad, everything that happens under his watch is bad, and the first lady is a wookie."

If you keep that in mind, you'll understand all his posts better. If there are Medicare cuts, he's screwing seniors. If he doesn't, he's allowing entitlement programs to run rampant. etc. ad infinitum.

Just remember -- Obama is the anti-Christ and everything he does (or doesn't do) is bad.

FWIW - this applies to everyone who has strongly tribally identified with one party or another. It's nothing but Go Team! My entire baby boomer family is like this - even the liberal one.

Note: the only exception I've seen to this is when a politician is directly trying to take money out of your pocket in a way that can't be blamed on the other side somehow,

Cochise 02-25-2014 12:57 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Cochise (Post 10452783)
HCF aside, this will definitely have a negative impact on health care organizations around the world that are already struggling to figure out how they are going to keep the books balanced under Obamacare.

Reducing MC/MA reimbursment is only going to hurt them more. And that drives costs upward, not downward, for everyone.

I will also add, the Obama regime tacitly admits that Obamacare is driving cost increases by sending surrogates out to make excuses for these cuts - like saying that the states should have increased payouts to compensate for it.


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