Obama Coming After Medicare Advantage

Jan 8, 2009

Tags:
  1. azmedsupagent
    Offline

    azmedsupagent Guru

    Posts:
    448
    Likes Received:
    2
    State:
    Arizona
    WASHINGTON — President-elect Barack Obama said Wednesday that overhauling Social Security and Medicare would be “a central part” of his administration’s efforts to contain federal spending, signaling for the first time that he would wade into the thorny politics of entitlement programs.

    As the Congressional Budget Office projected a record $1.2 trillion budget deficit for this year even before the costs of the nearly $800 billion economic stimulus plan being taken up by the House and the Senate, Mr. Obama stepped up his effort to reassure lawmakers and the financial markets that he plans a vigorous effort to keep the government’s finances from deteriorating further.
    Speaking at a news conference in Washington, he provided no details of his approach to rein in Social Security and Medicare, which are projected to consume a growing share of government spending as the baby boom generation ages into retirement over the next two decades. But he said he would have more to say about the issue when he unveiled a budget next month.
    Should he follow through with a serious effort to cut back the rates of growth of the two programs, he would be opening up a potentially risky battle that neither party has shown much stomach for. The programs have proved almost sacrosanct in political terms, even as they threaten to grow so large as to be unsustainable in the long run. President Bush failed in his effort to overhaul Social Security, and Medicare only grew larger during his administration with the addition of prescription drug coverage for retirees.
    Mr. Obama also promised a more intensive effort to weed inefficient and bloated programs out of the federal Budget in the short run, creating a White House position to “scour this budget, line by line, eliminating what we don’t need, or what doesn’t work, and improving the things that do.” He named Nancy Killefer to the post, called chief performance officer.
    “If we do nothing,” Mr. Obama said, “then we will continue to see red ink as far as the eye can see.”
    In an interview later in the day with CNBC and The New York Times, Mr. Obama suggested that he would hold his economic stimulus proposal to the low end of the amounts that economists think will be necessary because it was likely to grow in size as it moved through Congress. He said that he intended to propose a broad overhaul of financial regulation by April, and that he was working with Congressional leaders on his promised plan to limit foreclosures in the wake of the mortgage crisis.
    “We’ve got to prevent the continuing deterioration of the housing market,” he said.
    Mr. Obama met privately on Wednesday with Mr. Bush, then had lunch at the White House with Mr. Bush and the three living ex-presidents, Jimmy Carter, George Bush and Bill Clinton. In the interview, Mr. Obama said the other presidents had offered him good advice about the job: “How do you make sure that you get good information?” he said. “How do you make sure that people aren’t just telling you what you want to hear?”
    The bad fiscal news underscored how, on his first week in Washington since the election, Mr. Obama is being challenged by a broad array of problems, some inherited and some a result of his own missteps, a departure from a transition that until now had been praised as orderly and swift.
    The fighting between Israelis and Palestinians will present him with a complex foreign policy challenge immediately upon taking office.
    The week opened with the first casualty among Mr. Obama’s cabinet appointments, as Gov. Bill Richardson of New Mexico withdrew as his choice for commerce secretary amid questions about whether he had been adequately vetted. Then Mr. Obama had to apologize to Senate leaders for not informing them of his choice to lead the Central Intelligence Agency, Leon E Pennetta.
    On Wednesday, Mr. Obama backed away from his opposition to seating Roland Burris as his successor in the Senate, after initially saying that Mr. Burris was unacceptable because he had been chosen by Gov. Rod R. Blegojevich of Illinois, who has been accused of trying to sell the seat. These events are testing the resilience of Mr. Obama’s honeymoon, the depth of public support for him and how much people are willing to move beyond the familiar partisan rancor because of the gravity of the crises when he assumes power.
    “When you hit a bump, it may not be obvious at the time whether it’s a mountain or a molehill, but they are rarely mountains,” said David Axelrod, a senior adviser to Mr. Obama. “There are going to be things that go better than other things. The question is, Are we moving in the right direction? The answer is yes.”
    The dustup over Mr. Obama’s selection of Mr. Panetta to lead the C.I.A. appeared to cool Wednesday. Senator Danielle Feinstein a California Democrat and incoming chairwoman of the Select Committee on Intelligence, dropped her criticism, saying, “I believe all systems are go.”
    Mr. Obama also was poised to name Cass Sunstein, an American legal scholar, to an existing White House post as the administrator of the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs. A transition official said late Wednesday that Mr. Sunstein would oversee government regulations and devise new approaches for government efficiencies.
    For now, Mr. Obama is seeking to keep the spotlight focused on the economic recovery plan he is urging Congress to pass. He is set to offer a campaignlike address explaining the proposal on Thursday at George Mason University in Virginia, his first speech since winning the election. In the interview, he offered some soothing words to Republicans and the financial markets about his ideological approach, saying it was only the scale and urgency of the economic crisis that led him to support a huge stimulus plan.
    “I’m not out to increase the size of the government long- term,” he said. “My preference would be that the private sector was doing this all on their own.”

    NOTE: This is an article from the New York Times, the forum will not allow me to post a link to the article, if you would like the link just ask and I ll email it to you.
     
  2. The Rabbi
    Offline

    The Rabbi Guru

    Posts:
    1,070
    Likes Received:
    4
    I would say they are overpaying the MAs. When they can offer to refund the part B premium, they are being overpaid.

    There's no reason people shouldn't have to pay a copay for every service, but HMOs can afford to do it.

    Silver Sneakers??? If they want to workout, they can do it on their own. It's all about responsibility and accountablity, of which our citizens are ignorant.

    Medicare should only be giving the MAs the budget they would use anyway, the waste and fraud will pay for a lot of extra benefits.

    CMS overpays so much on DME that the medical supply companies can absorb the copay. Think of the scooter commercials. No money out of pocket.
     
  3. azmedsupagent
    Offline

    azmedsupagent Guru

    Posts:
    448
    Likes Received:
    2
    State:
    Arizona
    I could not agree more. The same thing happened with medicare+c, they started out over funded to entice new enrollees into the program and they started to back funding out untill plans started getting out of the program because there was no room for profits. Any healthy business seeks a profit margin between 10-15% and that conveniently happens to be about the amount these companies are overpaid. Not to mention the fact that these plans tend to have some adverse selection for healthier enrollees which means even less of the captation is going toward healthcare. Some would argue that this adverse selection should mean that MA companies should recieve less than 100% of medicares cost to insure its beneficiaries.
     
  4. stormtracker
    Offline

    stormtracker Guru

    Posts:
    920
    Likes Received:
    4
    State:
    Louisiana
    Should he follow through with a serious effort to cut back the rates of growth of the two programs, he would be opening up a potentially risky battle that neither party has shown much stomach for. The programs have proved almost sacrosanct in political terms, even as they threaten to grow so large as to be unsustainable in the long run. President Bush failed in his effort to overhaul Social Security, and Medicare only grew larger during his administration with the addition of prescription drug coverage for retirees.

    Therein lies the problem: "neither party has shown much stomach..." Until the politicians have the guts to handle the real problem, nothing will change. Propose all the "changes" that you sell to the blind, nothing will change... Same old wine in a brand new bottle...
     
  5. azmedsupagent
    Offline

    azmedsupagent Guru

    Posts:
    448
    Likes Received:
    2
    State:
    Arizona
    Well what do you think "The real problem is" with medicare? Did you vote for Obama? If you did do you not think he has the guts?
     
  6. stormtracker
    Offline

    stormtracker Guru

    Posts:
    920
    Likes Received:
    4
    State:
    Louisiana
    I did not vote for the man, but it doesn't matter who sits in that office-- it will be the same politics as usual. I do hold out one sliver of naive hope that he will stumble into fruitful change, but I would not expect anything...
     
  7. patch36
    Offline

    patch36 Guru

    Posts:
    1,066
    Likes Received:
    4
    State:
    Missouri
    He actually mentioned cutting MA in at least two of the debates. It is being funded at 115% of cost. If we more conservative citizens truly believe that privatization works and that almost any service can be provided by private enterprise cheaper and more efficiently than by the government, then why is the MA program being over funded? It is simply because of industry influence on the people voting the money. If the insurance companies can not provide Part C for less than it costs the government, then why do it? Though the cuts will likely take even more out of my pocket, I see not other choice than to bring funding down to a least the 100% level and build a program that operates within those parameters.

    With all the fuss about CMS messing with our commissions and cutting what we as agents make, I have not seen or heard of ANY cuts to what the insurance companies are making/milking from the program. The insurance companies have not stood up for the agents and are laying low trying to avoid the cuts Obama promised to make during the campaign.
     
    patch36, Jan 8, 2009
    #7
  8. jdeasy
    Offline

    jdeasy Guru

    Posts:
    16,786
    Likes Received:
    236
    State:
    Kentucky
    Haven't you heard? This stuff is all the fault of the agents.:goofy:
     
    jdeasy, Jan 8, 2009
    #8
  9. azmedsupagent
    Offline

    azmedsupagent Guru

    Posts:
    448
    Likes Received:
    2
    State:
    Arizona
    Im sure there are plenty of agents out there who must be concerned about the future of thier renewals when MA funding gets cut back. MA enrollee premiums will go up and benefits will likley go down which would cause an exodus from the program leaving those agents who build an agency on selling MA plans up a creek with no paddle. :no:
     
  10. midwestbroker
    Offline

    midwestbroker Guru

    Posts:
    2,372
    Likes Received:
    49
    State:
    Missouri
    According to Obama, we need to form a union. Then we can drive the carriers down with our benefits, force captive agents to go independent and join us, and break the health care system.

    Worked for the UAW...
     
Loading...