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Obamacare: Government Gives With One Hand, Takes Away With The Other | Missouri Political News Service

Obamacare: Government Gives With One Hand, Takes Away With The Other

June 11th, 2010 by MarkTwain · No Comments

It wouldn’t feel right to end this week without yet another press report of yet another broken promise about the Democrats’ costly, unpopular, and ill-conceived health care law.

And sure enough, Politico reports today, “No sooner than the administration dropped the first batch of $250 Medicare rebate checks in the mail, they have already run into their first snafu: a state government demanding that some seniors turn over the money. Vermont has asked 2,800 low-income seniors, for whom they had already covered prescription drug costs, to return the new rebate checks to state government. Vermont officials say that these seniors are ‘not entitled’ to the rebate checks.”

At an event on Tuesday promoting the Medicare checks as a benefit of the health care bill, President Obama said, “Beginning this week, tens of thousands of seniors who fall into the doughnut hole . . . will receive a $250 rebate check to help you cover the cost of your prescriptions.  That will happen immediately — that’s starting now.” Except, apparently, if you live in Vermont.

Politico explains, “The dust-up over rebate checks and who should receive them underscores the challenges of the federal-state partnership in health reform’s implementation. While rules and regulations are written within the Beltway, most of the heavy-lifting, in terms of implementation, rests with state governments. . . . The federal health reform law provides a $250 rebate check to Medicare patients who fall into the program’s prescription coverage gap, or donut hole, anytime this year. . . . VPharm, a state-run program assistance program for low-income seniors, was already covering the prescription-gap costs for Vermonters in the donut hole before the federal health reform law took effect. Since those seniors have already had their coverage gap costs paid for, Vermont has decided that the $250 checks should be contributed to the state’s Medicaid fund.”

Of course, that’s not the only health care promise shown to be faulty recently, just today’s. In an editorial today, The Wall Street Journal goes after the Obama administration for its Tuesday Medicare event and explains how none of its promises about the health care bill’s effect on Medicare hold up to even rudimentary scrutiny: ‘First and foremost,’ President Obama told seniors on Tuesday in Wheaton, Maryland, ‘what you need to know is that the guaranteed Medicare benefits that you’ve earned will not change, regardless of whether you receive them through Medicare or Medicare Advantage.’ First and foremost, nothing about that sentence is true. Advantage gives almost one of four seniors private insurance options, and Democrats are about to cut its funding by some $136 billion over the next decade even as health costs rise. The Congressional Budget Office says these cuts will cause enrollment to drop by 35%, the Administration’s own Medicare actuaries predict 50%, and both outfits take for granted that benefits will also decline.”

That’s why Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell said in response to Obama’s Medicare promotion Tuesday, “[S]eniors are right to be skeptical. They were told this law would strengthen Medicare, when in fact it takes a half trillion dollars out of Medicare to fund a new government program.  They were also told that if they liked their plan they could keep it. Yet now we hear that millions of seniors will lose the Medicare Advantage benefits they have and like as a result of the Democrat health care bill. . . . That’s been the story all along about this bill — a lot of promises that couldn’t be kept. And that’s why the story now isn’t the bill itself, but the administration’s broken promises.”


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