Forcing People Out of Traditional Medicare and into Medicare Advantage.

This was always the plan? The plan did not include forcing people out of traditional Medicare and into Medicare Advantage.

No mistake on the date on this Copied and Pasted Angry Bear post from almost two years ago. Nancy Alt, Andrew Sprung, and Angry Bear were sounding the alarm in 2019 about trump’s move to privatize Medicare using Medicare Advantage plans and by placing traditional Medicare users into these commercial insurance plans.

Without using tax funds to back Medicare Advantage, there is no way Medicare Advantage can compete with traditional Medicare. Oh wait there are some ways and that is to make up the differences by cutting back on the care and service to users and increasing fees for that service to those who are in need of the care (which it does now). Many people who have gone to Medicare Advantage plans come back to traditional Medicare. Typically, they have to go through an examination to secure the MediGap Insurance again. Medigap covers the 20% gap in Part B as well as the ~$1450 Part A deductible and other things too. The comeback s occurs because of care costs and reduced care in Medicare Advantage.

Mind you, there is waste in Medicare. Former Medicare Director Dr. Donald Berwick stated it may be as much as 30% in the treatment of Medicare participants and doctors know it. Even at that percentage, commercial healthcare insurance is more expensive. Just to start, 15-20% of commercial healthcare insurance cost-waste is solely in the processing of insurance claims.

Most recently, plans were released detailing the placement of traditional Medicare participants into Medicare Advantage plans with no exceptions. This will occur in and around selected metropolitan areas. Plans to do so were started by trump and his CMS administrators and are now being touted as being Joe Biden’s plan. It is not and there is evidence the president has put a hold on this going forward. Which makes sense as this action is a huge give away to commercial interests and the healthcare insurance industry.

Some people (when you question them) will tell you the costs and/or prices of Medicare and MediGap insurance is private information for an individual. This is readily available and public information. You can look up MediGap prices for the multiple plans (N, etc.) being offered. You can also find pricing for Part D (pharma) plans. Your monthly payment for Medicare is public domain also which can be deducted automatically from SS or you can pay it yourself. I will be posting on Medicare and what is going on in greater detail later.

In the short of it, I find all the noise being toos up to cloud the issue made as being deliberately deceptive or the result of a lack of knowledge.

Trump’s Executive Order, Backdoor Privatization of Medicare – Updated

run75441 | October 3, 2019 8:52 pm

Trump’s Executive Order is Backdoor Privatization of Medicare,” Social Security Works, Nancy Altman, October 3, 2019

Thursday and I had to search around for someone who is an expert on Medicare Advantage Plans and Original Medicare. Nancy is one of those experts. Friday and Andrew Sprung has his commentary Trump’s Bid To Destroy Medicare up on xpostfactoid blog.

Commercial Healthcare Insurance has been become more and more expensive over the years with copays increasing, deductibles increasing, and premiums going up. Todays commercial healthcare insurance costs a single person ~$7200 and a family ~$20,000 with the single person paying 18% of the premium and a family paying 31% of the premium. Approximately 36 million people make less than $25,000 annually (retail workers, personal care attendants, warehouse workers and others as well). In a crude calculation, xpostfactoid: “The past ten years of healthcare cost increase relative to wage increase might cost a full-time average wage earner with family coverage $3,000-$4,000 this year in added costs and decreased wages, or, say, 6-8% of income.”

Today’s Employer sponsored Healthcare Insurance is unsustainable. The same holds true for Medicare Advantage plans due to the Commercial healthcare Insurance offering it as well. There are few controls which can be applied on the commercial side of the healthcare industry which is why there is a big push for true single payer healthcare of which Medicare and Medicaid are. If you wish more detail on how commercial healthcare insurance has exploded in cost, my earlier post Health Benefits for 2019: Premiums Inch Higher, Employers Respond To Federal Policy offers more detail pictorially and in verbiage.

As I have written other times, Medicare and Medicaid have been instrumental in reducing excessive U.S. healthcare costs. Medicare and Medicaid set the prices paid to providers with provider input and commercial healthcare insurance uses those prices to set their payouts. Medicare hospital rates are an approximate half of those paid on average by commercial healthcare insurance. Rates paid to physicians average about 78% of commercial insurance rates. In high-demand specialties and in regions with fewer providers; commercial healthcare insurers often pay four, five and six times Medicare rates. If you remember from Kocher and Berwick’s article, they proposed setting commercial Healthcare (while it still exited in the interim) payouts at 120% of Medicare rates.

This action by Trump and Republicans is a huge giveaway to the commercial healthcare insurance sector and the healthcare industry. Right now Medicare Advantage uses Medicare rates. If they can beat Medicare Rates, they keep the difference. If they can not meet the rates, the consumer pays the difference. What Trump has done is reverse the format. Medicare Advantage Negotiated Rates will be used to set Medicare Fee For Service rates to providers.

Past the leap is the President of Social “Security Works” Nancy Altman’s statement on Trump’s Executive Order talking about Trump’s lies.

(Washington, DC) — The following is a statement from Nancy Altman, President of Social Security Works, on the Medicare executive order Donald Trump is signed today:

“Medicare Advantage is a hustle designed to allow for-profit corporations to suck up public dollars. For years, Republicans have shoveled money into Medicare Advantage plans and allowed them to offer benefits that traditional Medicare is forbidden from covering. This is a ploy to push seniors into Medicare Advantage plans instead of traditional Medicare. Medicare Advantage is stealth privatization intended to undermine traditional Medicare, which is an effective, popular government program and therefore loathed by Republican ideologues.

Under the Trump Administration, the thumb on the scale has turned into an entire arm. They’ve been flooding seniors’ inboxes with advertisements for Medicare Advantage. What these emails don’t mention is that Medicare Advantage plans often have narrow networks, restricting which doctors and hospitals patients are allowed to use. Worse, a recent government report found tt Medicare Advantage plans improperly deny care “in an attempt to increase their profits.” It’s no surprise that older, seniors are more likely to drop Medicare Advantage plans.

Medicare Advantage plans are also a terrible waste of public dollars. They have overcharged Medicare by $30 billion in the past three years alone.

Today’s executive order is yet another giveaway to the corporations that run Medicare Advantage plans. Ironically, the Trump Administration is framing the executive order as an attack on Medicare for All. In fact, the massive flaws of Medicare Advantage epitomize the need to get for-profit greed out of health care by improving Medicare and expanding it to cover all Americans.

Medicare, like Social Security, works. Republicans want to privatize both of them. We have to stop them and instead, expand both.”

The data is out there. I have brought much of it here to Angry Bear. Andrew Sprung at Xpostfactoid is an expert as well as others. If  you have a question ask. If I can not answer it, I can find out.

Run75441 (Bill H)