Thursday, May 8, 2014

Pubs Just Got Whacked On Another Anti-ACA Talking Point. Meantime Mike Rounds Is Obsessed With Scaring Seniors About It.

     Do you suppose Republicans at some point during this mid-term cycle will figure out that bashing Obamacare (the Affordable Care Act--ACA) isn't going to work for them?  After getting their clocks cleaned on the GOP's fatuous claim that enrollee numbers would fall way short, only to see sign-ups actually exceed the President's projections, Pubs next  got their political gluteus maximi handed to them when their prediction that 500,000 jobs would be lost were rebutted by news that over a million jobs have been created since ACA's inception last November.                                                                                     Now comes news today that Republicans just got trounced by reality again.  A week or so ago Pubs in Congress predicted that only 67% of ACA enrollees would pay their first month's premium, further pursuing their lame effort at deflating both claims and expectations of success for the nation's new healthcare law.  Well, Charlie Browns of the Republican Party, I guess Lucy pulled the football away again.  From a report in Yahoo Finance this morning, three of the nation's largest health insurers--Aetna, Wellpoint and Blue Cross Blue Shield's multi-state operator Health Service Corporation--just reported that somewhere between 80%-90% of their new customers who enrolled through Obamacare have paid their first month's premium.
     Face it, fellow Republicans, bashing ACA hasn't been much of a strategy.  You'd think that message would have sunk in by now, but no, right here in South Dakota we get to watch GOP Senatorial candidate Mike Rounds trotting out the oldsters in his  family as props for his own disingenuous claim that Obamacare will take serious money away from Medicare, causing cuts that will harm seniors.  What . . . a . . . crock.  According to Rounds, ACA will have to support itself by taking $700 billion away from Medicare, thereby depriving his dad and millions of other Medicare-dependent seniors of necessary healthcare.  The notion is ludicrous.  I'm a Medicare enrollee and I know that my benefits won't be cut by a dime because of ACA.
     The fact is, that so-called "cut" is actually a projection of savings that will accrue to a small segment of Medicare called Medicare Advantage.   So sensible is the objective that both parties had a way of achieving it prior to the last Presidential election.  In an explanatory piece,  the Washington Post notes, "here's what everyone agrees on:  [Paul] Ryan and Obama include the same cuts to the Medicare program itself.  So if you're an insurance company participating in the Medicare Advantage program, you're getting the same cut no matter who wins the election."   
     Mike Rounds is running against a long term phase-in of Medicare Advantage savings that his own party endorsed and proposed as recently as 2012.  This is actually pathetic and in no way resembles the "common sense South Dakota" approach to doing business that he promises to take to Washington if elected to the Senate.  If scaring seniors with half-, no, fully-baked, misrepresentations of the effects of ACA is the standard by which Rounds' campaign intends to move forward, I'd say he'll have his hands full when he faces up to the kind of grilling he'll get from his intra-party challengers during their SDPB gathering next week.  Then there's the passionate and articulate Democratic contender Rick Weiland to deal with if Rounds makes it to the general.  Then there are the voters themselves, South Dakotans who understand the difference between common sense and common baloney.

Addendum:  There are two relevant sections of the Affordable Care Act that should give seniors some sense of security about their continued Medicare and Medicare Advantage benefits, which are guaranteed:


    (a) Protecting Guaranteed Medicare Benefits- Nothing in the provisions of, or amendments made by, this Act shall result in a reduction of guaranteed benefits under title XVIII of the Social Security Act.
    (b) Ensuring That Medicare Savings Benefit the Medicare Program and Medicare Beneficiaries- Savings generated for the Medicare program under title XVIII of the Social Security Act under the provisions of, and amendments made by, this Act shall extend the solvency of the Medicare trust funds, reduce Medicare premiums and other cost-sharing for beneficiaries, and improve or expand guaranteed Medicare benefits and protect access to Medicare providers.


    Nothing in this Act shall result in the reduction or elimination of any benefits guaranteed by law to participants in Medicare Advantage plans.


  1. Not to mention that ACA made preventative care covered at 100% on Part B and that the coverage gap (AKA donut hole) on Part D is being reduced annually and will be eliminated by 2020.

  2. Thanks for another great piece, John. But you missed one point. The former governor said 700 plus billion with a B. He at least cleaned up his message from the Republican debate a few Saturdays ago. At that time he said that it was going to be taken from Medicaid. I sure wish that I had your two references to the law which prove that his ad is a lie, yesterday. I sent an email to the FCC asking that they force him to take the ads down, as they are a lie and he knows they are a lie.

    I would also like to point out an article that Larry Kurtz posted on Madville Times article on your piece that really shows how the states who accepted the medicaid option in the ACA are coming out ahead and the people, (read counties as well as individuals) are finding big savings.

    Thanks again for a great job. Just goes to show that there are some of us Republicans who don't have our head in the sand.

    1. Thanks, Lanny. Duly corrected. I'll check out Larry K.'s link. Hope you'll keep us apprised on the FCC's response. I'm also hoping somebody from the Rounds campaign will come over here explain the discrepancy between what they claim and what the law says.

  3. From Gayle. Great job John! Every time that ad airs my blood pressure shoots up. The fake smile is bad enough, but the lies put me over the top. Thanks for setting the record straight, we can only hope people get the truth.

  4. See Woster at KELOLAND. He thinks Rounds is telling the truth about the $750 Million.

    1. Here's Woster's piece. I invite readers to check it out and investigate the situation for themselves (You'll have to C & P the url, can't link from here). I stand by my post: