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:
SEC. 3601. PROTECTING AND IMPROVING GUARANTEED MEDICARE BENEFITS.
- (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.
SEC. 3602. NO CUTS IN GUARANTEED BENEFITS.
- Nothing in this Act shall result in the reduction or elimination of any benefits guaranteed by law to participants in Medicare Advantage plans.