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Romney Camp Memo Takes on Obama on Medicare

11:24 AM, Aug 18, 2012 • By DANIEL HALPER
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Lanhee Chen, the Romney campaign's policy director, is circulating this memo (below). The memo seems similar to what Yuval Levin and Jeffrey H. Anderson have written about Medicare, Obamacare, and the 2012 election. 

Here's Chen's memo: 

MEMORANDUM

To:                   Interested Parties

From:              Lanhee Chen, Ph.D., Policy Director

Date:               8/18/2012

Re:                  Understanding A President Who Claims Cuts “Strengthen” Medicare, Payments To Hospitals Are “Waste,” And Insurance For Seniors Is A “Subsidy”

To View This Memo Online, Click Here: http://mi.tt/NMoOVA

In an unprecedented blow to seniors who rely on Medicare, President Obama took $716 billion away from the program and spent it on his federal takeover of the health care system. This is not in dispute. You can watch President Obama acknowledge it in this interview with ABC News. You can watch the President’s deputy campaign manager call it an achievement it in this interview with CBS News. Or you can read about it in the latest Congressional Budget Office score of a proposed Obamacare repeal.

And yet, the President continues to put forward head-scratching claimslike “FACT: President Obama’s health care law strengthens Medicare benefits while cutting waste and insurance company subsidies.” Let’s unpack this a bit.

What exactly did the President cut, and what will the effects be?

The Largest Source Of Cuts Is A $415B Reduction In Provider Payments. This means that Medicare will reduce the amount that it pays to doctors and hospitals for the services they provide to seniors. In an imaginary world where government simply controls everything and everyone, this might sound like an effective way to control cost. In the real world, the result will be fewer providers accepting Medicare payments, and worse care for today’s seniors.

The Medicare Trustees, for instance, have concluded that Obamacare’s cuts “will not be viable.” Medicare’s chief actuary has called the cuts “unrealistic” (noting that they “could become unsustainable even within the next 10 years”), and testified that “almost every expert I have talked to thinks there is only a limited likelihood that that could work in the longer term.” A recent report by the government’s Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services said that Obamacare’s funding approach would be “inadequate” and quoted Health Affairs warning that reduced payments “could jeopardize Medicare beneficiaries’ access to mainstream medical care.”

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