From the Wall Street Journal:
Earlier this month, Humana sent a one-page letter to its customers enrolled in its Medicare Advantage plans, which offer private options to Medicare beneficiaries. Humana noted that, because of spending cuts proposed by Democrats, “millions of seniors and disabled individuals could lose many of the important benefits and services that make Medicare Advantage health plans so valuable.” The Kentucky-based company also urged its customers to contact their Representatives. Pretty tame stuff, as these things go.
Tame, yes. Also true. So there’s that. Humana was audacious enough to call out the Baucus plan for the potential danger to seniors. We wouldn’t want people knowing what the Baucus plan would actually do to private insurers, now would we?! Therefore, Baucus declared war.
“It is wholly inappropriate for insurance companies to mislead seniors regarding any subject—particularly on a subject as important to them, and to the nation, as health-care reform,” Mr. Baucus said in a statement yesterday, playing the role of Congressional censor. “The health-care reform bill we released last week strengthens Medicare and does not cut benefits covered under the Medicare program—and seniors need to know that.”
The truth? As it stands currently, the Baucus plan slashes Medicare Advantage by $123 billion over the next ten years.
Mr Baucus’ solution to avoid the backlash that comes from slashing these programs, the ones that help seniors afford private insurers, is to keep them in the dark. If they don’t know any better, then there won’t be any fall out and he can start killing of private companies. Because that’s what this plan is about. None of the people involved actually want there to be healthy competition between public and private insurers. They want the public option to succeed.
In Humana’s specific case, nearly 50% of their annual revenue comes from – you guessed it – Medicare Advantage. Now, if Medicare Advantage is slashed by, I repeat, $123 billion… how is that encouraging competition? Meanwhile, CMS has decreed that all Advantage insurers stop the flow of information.
I suppose that’s what you get for trying to tell the truth. You get bludgeoned to death by your adversary.
Wait, how is this discourse supposed to fix our health care system again?