"GOP’s Latest Repeal Message: Part D Doughnut Hole Checks Are A ‘Colossal Waste Of Money’"
Democrats have been arguing that the GOP repeal efforts will take away immediate and tangible benefits of health care reform. Now, James Capretta — who is helping organize the new anti-Obamacare website Obamacarewatch.org — is arguing that Americans don’t even need those benefits in the first place. According to Capretta, Democrats are bribing seniors with checks they don’t want and the country can’t afford:
CAPPRETTA: Can you imagine, given where we are budgetarily in this country, a more colossal waste of money, then to just say to a certain group of seniors, ‘we’re going to mail you another $250 check.’ They’re doing this because they’re massively disrupting the program these seniors are in and they’re trying to bribe them with a $250 check. I think that’s what’s going on. I think it won’t work. Seniors are already wise about what’s going on here. They’re going to get letters in the mail — many, many of them are going to get letters in the mail, from their insurers saying, ‘sorry, we have to change your benefits because ObamaCare has passed and it has cut our reimbursement rates. That’s the reality of what’s going to happen. And they’re going to be forced back into the traditional program and will be forced to buy Medigap policies.
The Democrats are, in fact, eliminating the subsidy paid out to insurers participating in the Medicare Advantage program, but companies that can provide care efficiently (including the MA programs that provide drug coverage), will receive bonus payments and prosper under the system. The more immediate problem is the doughnut hole created by the Medicare Modernization Act of 2003. Millions of seniors who spend more than a certain amount on medications fall into a so-called hole, at which point they lose drug coverage and pay out of pocket until they spend a certain amount of money. Those who can’t afford the added costs, sometimes stop taking medicines altogether. In 2007, more than one in four, or 26 percent, of Medicare Part D enrollees reached this coverage gap, which the new law will close over a period of 10 years.
CMS will mail out partial rebates this week to 80,000 Part D beneficiaries who have reached the coverage gap, and will continue to mail out rebate checks to beneficiaries quarterly, as they reach the gap. Ultimately, approximately 4 million seniors will benefit from this mean ploy.