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Medicare Advantage is George Bush's plan to "privatize" Medicare and it FAILED.

Paul Ryan's plan doubles down on this failed plan to "privatize Medicare" giving millions to insurance companies.  

In contrast President Obama gives savings back to seniors by filling the prescription "donut hole."

Ryan proposes giving all the donuts ($) to the insurance companies.

"Medicare Advantage" failed to reduce costs through competition in the marketplace.  Costs under these "Advantage" plans skyrocketed as expenditures for things like "health club memberships" were incurred to entice membership.

The Republican plan is real "crony capitalism."  It feeds profits and waste back into an already bloated insurance industry.  

Don't let Republican ads fool you into thinking that "Medicare Advantage" and "Medicare" are the same thing.  

The privatization of Medicare through Medicare Advantage is a bad idea.  
An idea that has already been proven a failure.
Further information below
The Affordable Care Act --- The law makes significant reductions to Medicare Advantage, a subset of Medicare plans run by private insurers. Medicare Advantage was started under President George W. Bush, and the idea was that competition among the private insurers would reduce costs. But in recent years the plans have actually cost more than traditional Medicare. So the health care law scales back the payments to private insurers.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Yes, "Medicare Advantage" inserted another (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Oh Mary Oh

    layer of middlemen to claim a portion of the money spent on medical care without providing any benefit, other than satisfying the desire of some people to be special or more advantaged than someone else. In other words, it satisfied the interests of the modern day highwayman, who collects a toll from all who pass his way, and it satisfied the segregationist or exclusive impulse that festers in many a soul.
    But, unless it deprived others of necessary care, since the money is worthless, it's not a total disaster. Psychic satisfaction for the endemically insecure is worth something.
    Congress could solve this whole farce by dropping the hoax that there's not enough money to keep people from expiring young or in the prime of life. Letting the latter die quickly, is a socially disastrous policy. A culture that lets its members die prematurely cannot survive. But then, self-centered people aren't aware of the culture in which they exist. Letting them make social decisions is a big mistake.

    We organize governments to provide benefits and prevent abuse.

    by hannah on Wed Oct 24, 2012 at 05:09:13 AM PDT

  •  Besides only 1/4 of medicare seniors participate (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Oh Mary Oh, Karl Rover

    due to extra premium required.

    Program should be renamed to Medicare for the Advantaged

    "Now watch what you say or they'll be calling you a radical, a liberal, a fanatical criminal" -- Logical Song -- Rick Davies & Roger Hodgson

    by Over50Lib on Wed Oct 24, 2012 at 05:10:40 AM PDT

  •  There is another side to this story... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    First off, there are unscrupulous insurance companies offering Medicare Advantage plans.  However, in principle, Medicare Advantage makes a lot of sense.

    Here's why:

    Traditional Medicare pays physicians on a "piece work" basis... in other words, it pays for procedures not for outcomes.  There is no provision for outcomes.

    By contrast, Medicare Advantage "keeps score."  It's not good enough to just do stuff... you need to demonstrate that your quality meets quality standards.

    More importantly, Medicare Advantage has important anti-cherry picking provisions.  In other words, plans are actually incentivized to provide care for seniors with complex conditions.

    Traditional fee for service Medicare institutionalizes a system with perverse incentives (doing more stuff, regardless of whether it works) while a well run Medicare Advantage plan aligns incentives so that the patient's interests are closer to those of the insurer.

    Again... like any system, there are bad apples.  But don't dismiss the program out of hand.

    •  your argument supports the Affordable Care Act (0+ / 0-)

      Your argumnet supports the Affordable Care Act not necessarily Medicare Advantage.  The reforms of the entire medical system, estabishment of medical review and a shift away from fee for service to quality of care along with limits to insurance companies profits is the core of the Act.

      The first time I learned about Medicare Advantage I was shocked to learn how it paid for "health club memberships."
      George Bush's idea was that competition would lower costs.  He was wrong.  The Medicare Advantage program increased costs.  Medicare Advantage is full of profits and unnecessary costs to attract people away from traditional Medicare.  Agents gets fees for signing people up for the plan, things like health club memberships were used to entice participation.  The idea that government can be privatized and be more efficient is a fallacy.  Corporate profit is equivalent to government waste.  Privatization of government is itself crony capitalism.  Ask Ross Perot or look up the history of EDS (Electronic Data Systems).

      Profit always comes from somewhere.

  •  My dad is losing his Medicare Advantage (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Wee Mama, OrangeMike, raincrow

    Lives in Florida, does the gym membership thing.
    96 years old, WWII Vet, swims every morning using this Advantage.

    Talked to him the other day, he said losing his Medicare Advantage is a very small price for him to pay.

    He is, of course, voting Obama, and is encouraging his friends to do the same.

    •  He won't lose his MA plan. (0+ / 0-)

      They are gaining people and competing vigorously to do so.

      They won't go away. In fact more of them are improving their quality.

      But thank your dear father for his thinking. He sounds like a wonderful person.

      I'm asking you to believe. Not in my ability to bring about real change in Washington ... *I'm asking you to believe in yours.* Barack Obama

      by samddobermann on Wed Oct 24, 2012 at 12:53:57 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  this is encouraging because the ads aren't working (0+ / 0-)

      Thank you for sharing this.  It is encouraging to me because  I now know the ads by Republicans are not working.

      They first tried to get seniors addicted to Medicare Advantage over traditional Medicare with perks like health club memberships.  Then they tried to threaten them with the potential elimination of Medicare Advantage.

      The truth is if Medicare is to remain solvent waste must be eliminated.  

      The Affordable Care Act doesn't cut services to Medicare.  Medicare Advantage is not eliminated either.  It brings what Medicare Advantage gets in line with what traditional Medicare gets for the same.  Health club memberships were not an effective use of resources.  To tell you the truth I'd rather see them pay for a tread mill or something similar that seniors could use in their own home.  

      The Affordable Care Act extends Medicare for another 8 years and shifts the priority of healthcare away from fee for service to quality of care.  

      Less people get sick lowers costs for all.

      Insurance companies and hospitals were able to negotiate lower costs because of the greater population covered and better service.

      A good plan.  

  •  I have a lower income senior friend (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    who lives in Washington state.
    She receives $1100 a month in SS and $500 a month from her deceased husbands pension.

    About 5 yrs ago she signed up with a Medicare Advantage company after attending a 'information session' by the company, to 'explain the NEED for such coverage'.

     She is convinced that she NEEDS this policy or she could lose her home if she becomes ill or that she couldn't afford the copays or shared costs of treatment. (She owns a manufactured house).

    The premium cost has risen sharply - she has one of the costliest premiums available. It is more than $500 a month!! I've tried to show her that simply banking that money every month that she'd have MORE than enough to pay any extra costs. She just won't budge.

    In August, her daughter told me that her mom had visited a food bank. At this point, I told her she should try to intervene some how.

    What isn't funny, my friend is blaming 'Obamacare' for the rise in her premiums. Sigh.

    YES WE DID! November 4th, 2008 ~ and we'll do it again Nov 6th, 2012.

    by Esjaydee on Wed Oct 24, 2012 at 07:07:12 AM PDT

    •  sad how effective Republican/Insurance backed (0+ / 0-)

      It's sad how effective Republican/Insurance Industry backed propaganda can be.  Fear is a very strong emotion.
      There was a book written about the Affordable Care Act by the Washington Post.  

      The book is called "Landmark: The Inside Story of America's New Health Care Law and What It Means for Us All" and it's available on Amazon.

      I believe traditional Medicare could cost as little as $99 per month with another $34-40 for prescription coverage.  That is $140 per month as opposed to your $500 noted for Medicare Advantage.  Traditional medicare pays 80% of doctor visits and I think the copay for prescriptions is around $6.60 per month.  The Affordable Healthcare Act actually fills the prescription drug donut hole and helps seniors even more.

      It sounds to me like the Affordable Care Act will help her more and those in the insurance industry making huge profits are spreading lies to keep hold of a good thing for them.  Agents can get around $400 with some companies just to sign people up for Medicare Advantage.

      I'd go with the $140 plan and put the difference between that and the $500 in the bank to pay for incidental costs.

  •  medicare advantage is a very small (0+ / 0-)

    advantage so to speak.  The insurance companies aren't exactly giving away alot in those plans.  They do get a nice subsidy (and the medicare premiums) in return.  Yes, they are probably being overpaid for what they do.  

    Honestly, we would ALL we better off in a single payer system.

    "The real wealth of a nation consists of the contributions of its people and nature." -- Rianne Eisler

    by noofsh on Wed Oct 24, 2012 at 08:45:55 AM PDT

    •  my dream when America grows up (0+ / 0-)

      My dream is that when America grows up and joins the world of other industrialized nations we have a single payer system.  The idea that our Medicare system could have handled the job was already suggested by many.

      Thank you for saying what I was thinking....

  •  this diary contains a lot of hogwash. (0+ / 0-)

    The MA plans started in Clinton's reign, not by Geo W Bush.

    That $500 seems very high. If you care tell her you will sit down with her to review the plans and find one — even with the same company that is less expensive.

    But she is right that she needs something besides just plain Medicare and not for the drug coverage alone. Some plans cover eye and dental care which Medicare doesn't touch. But she is right, the standard 20% copay with Medicare can cause a lot of pain.

    I'm asking you to believe. Not in my ability to bring about real change in Washington ... *I'm asking you to believe in yours.* Barack Obama

    by samddobermann on Wed Oct 24, 2012 at 01:05:12 PM PDT

    •  so do you work in the insurance industry? (0+ / 0-)

      So do you work in the insurance industry?  
      Your response is somewhat devoid of substance and pointed.  I could understand and appreciate clarification and discussion but your response sounds personal like our discussion is an attack on your livelihood.

      You are both right and wrong in your rant.  Clinton did not start the Medicare Advantage program but he did start the "Medicare + Choice" program it's predecessor.  It was George Bush who started the "Medicare Advantage" program and added prescription drugs to the mix without a way for the government to pay for it.
      NOTE:  Some background on the subject:
      With the passage of the Balanced Budget Act of 1997, Medicare beneficiaries were given the option to receive their Medicare benefits through private health insurance plans, instead of through the Original Medicare plan (Parts A and B). These programs were known as "Medicare+Choice" or "Part C" plans. Pursuant to the Medicare Prescription Drug, Improvement, and Modernization Act of 2003, the compensation and business practices for insurers that offer these plans changed, and "Medicare+Choice" plans became known as "Medicare Advantage" (MA) plans. In addition to offering comparable coverage to Part A and Part B, Medicare Advantage plans may also offer Part D coverage.

      Now, regardless of whether it was initiated by a Democrat and later bloated by a Republican by adding prescription coverage,  I do not see where that distracts at all from the legitimacy of this discussion and the fact that Medicare Advantage was a bad idea.  

      Take a look at the section devoted to Medicare Advantage in the book "Landmark: The Inside Story of America's New Health Care Law and What It Means for Us All" by the Washington Post.
      It's amazing how much misinformation $250 million dollars of the insurance industries money can provide.

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