Obama Blasts Medicare Advantage Plans

Barack Obama, while campaigning in Iowa, has spoken out against the Medicare Advantage plans. Medicare Advantage is part one of the corporate welfare provisions in George Bush’s Medicare plan which provides subsidies to insurance companies to treat Medicare patients. Despite cherry picking the healthiest patients, it is significantly more expensive to treat Medicare patients under these plans. The plans engage in misleading sales tactics to get seniors to sign up without realizing what they are doing. The Des Mones Register reports:

The nation must stop health insurance companies from defrauding senior citizens, presidential candidate Barack Obama told residents in Des Moines on Friday.

The Illinois senator’s remarks came in response to a recent study and a government report that conclude Medicare’s private plan alternative – called Medicare Advantage – costs taxpayers more money, can increase premiums paid by seniors and, in some cases, has left people to find they do not have a doctor who accepts the coverage in their area.

The study, done by George Washington University professor Brian Biles, estimates that the average Medicare Advantage client will cost taxpayers $1,074 more in 2007.

The program was designed to reduced costs, largely through increased competition.

Medicare Payment Advisory Commission, an independent group that advises Congress, recently reported that the government pays 12 percent more on average to private Medicare plans than to treat comparable beneficiaries through traditional Medicare.

Elimination of excessive subsidies to the program would save nearly $150 billion in 10 years, which could improve total Medicare coverage and lower prescription drug costs, Obama said.

“The reason we don’t do something like that is because we are not setting the agenda in Washington – the insurance companies and the drug companies are,” Obama said. “And that’s what people want to turn the page on. They want a system that’s sensible and fair to everybody.”

Other deleterious affects of Bush’s Medicare plans has been the prescription drug plan which is designed more to channel money to hte pharmaceutical companies than to provide true prescription drug coverage, and annual increases in the Medicare deductible.

Related Post: Medicare Disadvantage

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    David Crandall says:

    Some people would like to buy a supplement but there is a monthly payment they don’t want to pay.  Medicare advantage has no monthly premium and will never cost you anything if you never use it.  Why pay for something you never use.  That is the reason to sign up for Medicare Advantage.  Original Medicare has deductables and 20 percent co-insurance so it aint free.

  9. 9
    Ron Chusid says:

    Not true. Some Medicare Advantage plans have no premiums but they are typically limited plans, often with lots of hidden costs. I’ve seen many Medicare Advantage plans with significantly higher copays than with traditional Medicare–it is necessary to be very careful when shopping.

    In addition, some Medicare Advantage plans place a lot of restrictions, such as which doctors people can see. I’ve seen cases of patients traveling out of state and getting stuck with the entire bill because the Medicare Advantage plan wouldn’t pay for out of network costs.

    Of course all Medicare Advantage plans have the problem that extra money in subsidies is being paid to the insurance companies to increase their profits–money which is better spent on actual health care.

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    michaelscherer says:

    Romney said today that Obama cuts to Medicare Advantage violated his 2008 campaign vows. Romney is wrong. http://t.co/vFoIYGIb

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    Harrell Kirstein says:

    Romney said today that Obama cuts to Medicare Advantage violated his 2008 campaign vows. Romney is wrong. http://t.co/vFoIYGIb

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