In an October 24 article about a Medicare-related ad by Senator Scott Brown (possibly gated), the Boston Globe has continued its litany of lies about Medicare Reform and its effect on seniors (my intention was to catalog the Globe lies but I stopped after July 8; there were too many). Although I haven't mentioned it in a while, the Globe continues to seriously misinform Massachusetts senior citizens like me simply to further its political agenda.
The errors in the article are numerous and purposely written in a way to deceive.
This is not your typical uninformed Globe journalist at work. For example, the article mentions a memo by Medicare Actuary Richard Foster near the end in a way that implies maybe Brown made it up and that the memo really didn't come from the Medicare actuary (the article said the memo wasn't from the actuary but it was just mentioned in the New York Times?). What deceitful wording.
Not only have both the actuary and the CBO documented the cuts (which anyone with common sense realizes affects us Massachusetts Medicare beneficiaries, not the hospitals or insurers), but the actuary made the point that the money could not both go to fund the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA, better known as Obamacare) and to also extend the Medicare Part A trust fund.
As for the effect on senior citizens, Tufts has already cut 5000 of us in Worcester County from our Part C Medicare health plans; that's just the beginning of the direct cuts us Medicare beneficiaries will see because of PPACA.
I have posted about more truly non-partisan unbiased information from the actuary, from Foster's assistant, John Schatto. He analyzes the effect of PPACA on Medicare and concludes:
"The provisions of the Affordable Care Act are expected to have a very different effect of the average beneficiary’s out-of-pocket costs depending on whether they are enrolled in fee-for-service Medicare or (a Medicare health) plan. For beneficiaries in fee-for-service Medicare, out-of-pocket costs for coinsurance amounts and premiums will be significantly reduced by the ACA. Someone enrolled in Parts A, B, and D will have their average costs reduced each year beginning in 2010 and reaching an estimated $664 in 2019. (Medicare health plan) enrollees will experience the opposite effect. Their out-of-pocket costs will rise, reaching an average of $873 in 2019. It should also be noted that for a small percentage of beneficiaries with high incomes, their premiums for Parts B and D will increase as a result of the ACA."
When the Democrats and the Globe (I know, I know; that's reduncant) mention PPACA's effect on Medicare they always mention the first positive calculation (A/B/D) but never mention the second negative calculation (C/D). Putting them together translates to no gains for seniors on average. Because Medicare health plans are used disproportionately by poor seniors, the poor on Medicare suffer most. The higher premiums for well-off seniors also reduce the so called PPACA-caused Medicare savings. Not that I am crying for the rich but this deceit skews the statistic used by the Democrats even more.
As for the so-called drug savings touted by the Democrats, in Massachusetts they are almost non-existent. None of the Democrats statistics (nor the Schatto memo for that matter because it is national) take into account what Massachusetts Prescription Advantage or MassHealth pays for seniors on Medicare (see illustration above). When you do the complete calculation
- only high income seniors in Massachusetts (about 10% of us)
- who are on Part D (only 50% of us) and
- who also -- unfortunately -- have high drug costs (only 1% of us)
are affected by the donut hole. No low income senior (dependent on assets) nationally can be affected at all by the donut hole because of Social Security's Extra Help program and those of us in that situation also get free premiums and nominal co-pays. Almost all the rest of us seniors in Massachusetts who are on Part D (a minority) are protected by Prescription Advantage (assuming we sign up for it).
The donut hole scam is Warren's biggest deceit. She and the Globe (I know, I know; that's redundant) typically say all seniors in Massachusetts saved $600 on average last year because of what PPACA to the donut hole when in fact only a few of us out of 1,100,000 are even affected by the donut hole.
-- Dennis Byron