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Snap-O Fact #93

President Obama Strengthens Medicare While The Right Wing Pushes False Attacks! 

ABSTRACT: 

The Affordable Care Act made several changes to Medicare (which makes up 12 percent of the federal budget). In a few cases, the law actually increased Medicare spending to provide more benefits and coverage, that according to the Kaiser Family Foundation, a trusted independent source that analyzes the health care system. The Act makes preventive care free and closes the "doughnut hole," a current gap in prescription drug coverage for seniors.

Other provisions are designed to reduce future growth in Medicare spending, to encourage the program to operate more efficiently and to improve the delivery and quality of care, in ways including reducing hospital re-admissions. The bill doesn't take money out of the current Medicare budget but, rather, attempts to slow the program's future growth, curtailing just over $500 billion in anticipated spending increases over the next 10 years. Without additional reform Medicare spending will still increase, however. The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office projects Medicare spending will reach $929 billion in 2020, up from $499 billion in actual spending in 2009.

 Whatever it's called, the fact is that the "cut" is a $500 billion reduction in the growth of future spending over 10 years. It is not a slashing of the current Medicare budget or benefits. It's true that those who get their coverage through Medicare Advantage's private plans (about 22 percent of Medicare enrollees) would see fewer add-on benefits; the bill aims to reduce the heftier payments made by the government to Medicare Advantage plans, compared with regular fee-for-service Medicare. 

Republican leaders are claiming that Rep. Paul Ryan's budget proposal does not cut Medicare spending. At the same time they accuse President Obama of having "cut" $500 billion from Medicare as part of the Affordable Care Act. The truth is that these "cuts" come through eliminating parts of Medicare "seen as ineffective or wasteful". Cynically, Congressman Ryan's plan retains this $500 billion in reductions, while significantly increasing out-of-pocket costs for seniors. Right-Wing media attacks the President over Medicare cuts while they praise the Ryan Plan, which Includes the same "cuts".
Here are some specific misleading statements on the subject:
"We know that President Obama stole over $500 billion out of Medicare to switch it over to Obamacare." -- Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann, during the CNN/Tea Party Republican debate 
"He cut Medicare by $500 billion. This is a Democrat president -- the liberal, so to speak, cut Medicare. Not Republicans, the Democrat." -- former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, during the same debate.
Unfortunately the Republican candidates, echoed by the right wing media are knowingly and constantly misinforming the American public on this issue.