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Earlier this week, investigators at the Government Accountability Office (GAO) uncovered another gimmick in the President’s health care law.
According to the GAO, the Obama administration put in place a massive $8.3 billion “pilot program” that would temporarily reverse most of the Medicare Advantage cuts until after the election.
Today, U.S. Senator John Barrasso (R-Wyo.) called on the administration to cancel the program and tell American seniors the truth about how the President’s health care law impacts their Medicare Advantage coverage.
Excerpts of Senator Barrasso’s remarks on the floor of the U.S. Senate:
“The president was caught and called out by the GAO when they have uncovered another gimmick in the president's health care law. It’s a gimmick that tries to cover up how the president's law devastates seniors' ability to get the care they need from the doctor they want at a cost they can afford.
“The Obama administration's latest trick targets seniors on a program called Medicare Advantage. It’s a program that one out of four seniors, people on Medicare, rely on for their health care coverage.
“As someone who has taken care of lots of Medicare patients over the years—we know that one in four, about 12 million seniors are on this Medicare Advantage program.
“The reason it's an advantage for them is that it helps with preventive medicine, helps with coordinating their care. They like it because of eyeglasses and eye care, they liked it because of hearing aids, and each and every one of those 12 million knows that they are on Medicare Advantage because it is a choice that they make to go on to the program.
“Well, as people all around the country remember, the White House and democrats in the effort to pass the health care law cut $500 billion from Medicare, not to strengthen Medicare, not to save Medicare for our seniors, no, but to start a whole new government program for other people.
“From Medicare, about $145 billion of that money came from this Medicare Advantage program, a program that people really, really like.
“These cuts would have gone into place this year, actually, October of this year. Well, that's the time of the year when seniors are supposed to register for their Medicare Advantage plans for the next year.
“Now, we're talking about October of 2012, the month right before the presidential election, and the cuts coming then will make those millions of American seniors who have chosen Medicare advantage, I would believe make them very, very unhappy with this administration and the Democrats in Congress who shoved this down the throats of the American people, in spite of the American people saying no, don't pass this health care law.
“So the president and his folks saw this political problem developing. Well, what did the administration do? Well, they put in place a massive $8.3 billion, billion, with a b, billion-dollar so-called pilot program.
“What it would do is temporarily, temporarily reverse most of these Medicare Advantage cuts—not for too long; just to get the president and the Democrats past the election of 2012.
“According to the GAO 90% of this Medicare Advantage enrollees would be covered by these contracts eligible for this so-called bonus in 2012 and 2013.
“Madam President, this is a sham program. It is seven times larger than any similar demonstration program that Medicare has ever attempted—and Medicare's in place now for 50 years.
“This program wasn't actually designed to improve the Medicare Advantage program—that’s why this is a sham. The reality is that the so-called bonus program is a political stunt—all aimed at the 2012 presidential election.
“The administration simply did not want to face America’s seniors with the truth. The truth is that his health care law gutted the popular Medicare advantage program, reducing choices and raising premiums.
“Once again, this administration claims to be for transparency, claims to pride itself on accountability, but this administration is not leveling with the American people.
“So today, I’m calling on the President of the United States to direct his Secretary of Health and Human Services to cancel this waste of taxpayer dollars that's being used to cover up the damage that his health care law is doing to the seniors of this country on Medicare Advantage.
“It is time they cancel the program and come clean about their plan for seniors on Medicare Advantage.”