Wow, yesterday I found Republican political guru Karl Rove wrong in his description of Wyden-Ryan competitive bidding and premium support. Today, I find Washingto Post far-left-wonk Ezra Klein correct in the way he describes the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) cuts to Medicare. I guess I really am non-partisan.
"... within the trust-fund accounting rules, Obama is using his Medicare cuts to pay for (PPACA) and Ryan is using his Medicare cuts to finance the Medicare program in the future... I think Ryan’s basic point on this — “Obama is using Medicare cuts to pay for Obamacare, and we are not” — is sound."
But not so fast. As long as Journolister Klein is becoming intellectually honest, let's stop claiming that the Medicare Part C money being cut by PPACA goes to "private insurers." It effectively goes to me, the Part C beneficiary. I "get" the money in the form of lower premiums and better benefits than I could otherwise get if I cobbled together a cocktail of Medicare Parts A/B/D and Medigap. The way this works is well documented in the John Schatto memo of October 2010 that is used as backup for the Obama administration's claims that PPACA saves Medicare Part A and B beneficiaries billions. (Obama propaganda never mentions how us Part C guys get screwed but his actuary Schatto does.)
Whether the larger Obama/PPACA cuts to Medicare for nursing homes and hospitals as described by both Klein and Schatto will hurt all of us Medicare beneficiaries indirectly or at all is debatable. But the fact that the smaller (relative to the absolute dollars moved by PPACA from senior coverage to non-senior coverage) Part C cuts are Obama cuts directly to us Part C beneficiaries is just simple math.
Ok, Klein was only half intellectually honest. Now I feel better.
-- Dennis Byron