The Other Shoe Continues to Drop on Obamacare

The most stunning aspect of the disastrous rollout and implementation of Obamacare is the sheer number of problems the law presents for Democrats. From “if you like your plan, you can keep it,” which Politifact deemed the Lie of the Year,  to patients being dropped by doctors they know and trust, a new politically damaging aspect of the law seems to emerge on a weekly basis.

The most recent Obamacare related problem for Democrats is last Friday’s proposal from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services to cut Medicare Advantage rates by 3.55 percent. These cuts would affect approximately 16 million seniors who are enrolled in the program. A recent online poll of seniors (age 65+) conducted by Survey Sampling International on behalf of The Morning Consult demonstrates just how damaging these cuts would be for President Obama and Congressional Democrats.

Currently, seniors with Medicare Advantage plans are EXTREMELY satisfied with the program. A whopping 94% say they are satisfied with their plan, with 49% saying they are very satisfied with it.

However, seniors with Medicare Advantage plans are nervous about the impact the 2010 healthcare law will have on their access to these plans. Just 12% say that the 2010 healthcare law will make access better, with 38% saying it will make access worse. Forty-nine percent (49%) say it will make access about the same.

When seniors are told about the recently announced plan to cut Medicare Advantage rates, their anxiety over what will happen to Medicare Advantage plans only increased. Seniors are concerned that these cuts will increase the cost of Medicare Advantage, negatively impact the availability of Medicare Advantage plans, and negatively impact access to medical providers through Medicare Advantage.

Impact of Medicare Advantage Cuts
Among Voters Age 65+

Extremely Concerned Very Concerned Total Concerned Total Not Concerned
Increase the Cost of Medicare Advantage Plans 34% 24% 82% 18%
Negatively Impact the Availability of Medicare Advantage Plans 27% 25% 79% 21%
Negatively Impact Access to Medical Providers through Medicare Advantage 28% 25% 79% 20%

 

Democrats continue to criticize Republicans for focusing their campaigns so centrally on Obamacare, saying that voters are not interested in single issue campaigns. However, these criticisms miss the broader picture. Obamacare is NOT a single issue. With businesses reporting lay-offs because of Obamacare, it is a jobs issue. With the President and his Democratic colleagues in the House and Senate unable to keep their promise to the American people that if they liked their health insurance plans, they could keep them,  it is a trust issue. With these recently announced cuts to Medicare Advantage, it is a Medicare issue. And, it is an issue that is not going away.

The poll referenced in this post  was conducted from February 22-25, 2014, among a national sample of 1,785 registered voters 65 years and older on traditional Medicare or a Medicare Advantage plan. The full survey can be viewed at the link below:
http://themorningconsult.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/02/TMC_February-2014-Seniors-Poll_Toplines_2-26-2014.pdf

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