Ending privatized medicare in the USA
US government subsidies enrich insurance companies at the expense of taxpayers and beneficiaries.
by James Ridgeway, Mother Jones
April 8, 2009 — The Obama administation has taken an important first step toward reducing what are basically a set of handouts to private insurers, embedded in the Medicare system. These government subsidies to private industry enrich insurance companies at the expense of taxpayers and beneficiaries.
The particular handouts in question come in the form of subsidies to so-called Medicare Advantage plans. As the Wall Street Journal reported on Monday:
The federal government made good on its plan to cut 2010 payments for private Medicare plans, whittling the subsidies to health insurers sooner than the industry originally expected.
The cuts, announced late Monday by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, are slightly less severe than the 5 percent reduction the federal agency signaled in February, but still raise concerns about what has been a critical source of profit growth for many health insurers. Reimbursements to private insurers that administer so-called Medicare Advantage plans would fall by as much as 4 percent to 4.5 percent next year.
Even the WSJ acknowledges that "Republicans during the Bush administration pushed the plans' extra benefits for seniors and subsidies to insurers to promote more private-sector involvement in Medicare." ...
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Ending Privatized Medicare: A First Step, by James Ridgeway, Mother Jones, April 8 2009
Posted: April 08, 2009
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