OK

This is only a Preview!

You must Publish this diary to make this visible to the public,
or click 'Edit Diary' to make further changes first.

Posting a Diary Entry

Daily Kos welcomes blog articles from readers, known as diaries. The Intro section to a diary should be about three paragraphs long, and is required. The body section is optional, as is the poll, which can have 1 to 15 choices. Descriptive tags are also required to help others find your diary by subject; please don't use "cute" tags.

When you're ready, scroll down below the tags and click Save & Preview. You can edit your diary after it's published by clicking Edit Diary. Polls cannot be edited once they are published.

If this is your first time creating a Diary since the Ajax upgrade, before you enter any text below, please press Ctrl-F5 and then hold down the Shift Key and press your browser's Reload button to refresh its cache with the new script files.

ATTENTION: READ THE RULES.

  1. One diary daily maximum.
  2. Substantive diaries only. If you don't have at least three solid, original paragraphs, you should probably post a comment in an Open Thread.
  3. No repetitive diaries. Take a moment to ensure your topic hasn't been blogged (you can search for Stories and Diaries that already cover this topic), though fresh original analysis is always welcome.
  4. Use the "Body" textbox if your diary entry is longer than three paragraphs.
  5. Any images in your posts must be hosted by an approved image hosting service (one of: imageshack.us, photobucket.com, flickr.com, smugmug.com, allyoucanupload.com, picturetrail.com, mac.com, webshots.com, editgrid.com).
  6. Copying and pasting entire copyrighted works is prohibited. If you do quote something, keep it brief, always provide a link to the original source, and use the <blockquote> tags to clearly identify the quoted material. Violating this rule is grounds for immediate banning.
  7. Be civil. Do not "call out" other users by name in diary titles. Do not use profanity in diary titles. Don't write diaries whose main purpose is to deliberately inflame.
For the complete list of DailyKos diary guidelines, please click here.

Please begin with an informative title:

Cartoon fish wrapped in newspaper.
The "Medicare cuts" lie, a major feature in the Republicans 2010 and 2012 game plan, is back. This time it's being backed up and funded by the insurance companies, who have no problem lying to and scaring their older customers if they think it's going to help the bottom line. Journalists should be doing their jobs and exposing those scare tactics for seniors, argues Trudy Lieberman at the Columbia Journalism Review.
About a year ago, insurance companies mobilized their sham grassroots group, the Coalition for Medicare Choices, to send letters to Congress and the Administration and pump big bucks in to studies, national advertising, and press releases noting that payment cuts would cause typical seniors with Medicare Advantage plans to see monthly premiums rise as much as $90—a claim the press did not investigate. In fact, press coverage was virtually nonexistent, and in the end the industry did not get a payment cut but a 3.3 percent raise from the government, which Politico called “one of the greatest political victories in recent memories.”

This year, the Coalition for Medicare Choices again is hard at work using the same strategy and a national grassroots and advocacy campaign called “Seniors are Watching.” The industry’s trade group, America’s Health Insurance Plans (AHIP), cites a new analysis by the firm Oliver Wyman (which prepared last year’s analysis) saying that those enrolled in Medicare Advantage plans could face premium increases and benefit reductions of $35 to $75 a month—a claim that also needs to be examined. To help reach their goal of maintaining current payment levels for next year, AHIP has enlisted support from other groups such as the National Hispanic Medical Association and the Healthcare Leadership Council, an organization of chief executives of all the big players in healthcare (hospitals, academic medical centers, drug companies, bio tech firms) that have an interest in making sure Medicare beneficiaries have large benefits to pay for the products and services they sell.[...]

[It] is a good story—a political one that offers a chance again to explain the difference between cuts and savings, and examine the cross-subsidies in the Affordable Care Act. But there’s more. It’s also a story about the bottom lines of insurance companies who want to make sure Medicare Advantage plans are super attractive to seniors—meaning, low premiums and lots of benefits which extra government payments have historically paid for. Last year, John Wasik, writing for the now-defunct Medicare News group, noted that while the insurance industry prefers to focus on what “cuts” might cost seniors, the industry’s own financial interests would run something like $11 billion in 2014. This year the numbers may be different, but the back story is the same. Reporters need to put the talking points in context and honestly explain to seniors what’s at stake for them.

Some seniors do have a stake in this, if their Medicare Advantage insurer shrinks physician networks in response to the cuts. But no senior is going to see a real cut in benefits, and what they will see is a more sustainable Medicare program, shored up by at least an additional decade by these savings. And who has a really big stake in this is the insurance companies. That's the story that doesn't get told enough. That and the fact that Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) has used the exact same Medicare savings in his budgets since 2011, and that almost every single Republican in the House has voted for those three budgets, with those Medicare cuts, every time.

The primary story, though, mostly likely will be what Republicans say: "Medicare cuts." That will be reinforced for seniors with astroturfed messages from the Coalition for Medicare Choices, telling them that these Obamacare cuts are going to harm them. The lie is a lot easier to tell than to debunk, but it's the traditional media's job to try.

Intro

You must enter an Intro for your Diary Entry between 300 and 1150 characters long (that's approximately 50-175 words without any html or formatting markup).

Extended (Optional)

Originally posted to Joan McCarter on Tue Feb 18, 2014 at 09:49 AM PST.

Also republished by Daily Kos.

EMAIL TO A FRIEND X
Your Email has been sent.