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Senate Opponents Delivering 'Chicken Little' Mistruths Crafted to Sow Fear on Health Reform, says Consumer Watchdog
Date:12/7/2009

you marketing messages, said Consumer Watchdog. The Chicken Little sound bites of Senate opponents are like those insurance marketing materials, said Consumer Watchdog -- aimed at an emotional response, not the more complicated reality.

Here are the top Chicken Little messages, along with a truth that, as usual, is more than a sound bite.

** Medicare benefits will be cut, up to 64%!!!

The longer truth: No regular Medicare benefits would be cut, and some would be strengthened. The health reform bills would reduce overpayments of more than $1,000 per beneficiary to private, for-profit Medicare Advantage plans (which sometimes offer extras like gym memberships). The overpayments, gained through relentless insurance industry lobbying in Congress, threaten the health of overall Medicare, and are paid for by people in regular Medicare, who are charged about $90 a year extra on their physician-care "part B" payments -- money that goes directly to Aetna, United Health Group, Kaiser and others that market, and profit from, the Medicare Advantage plans.

Under the reform bill, the overpayments would be reduced, though not eliminated. It would be up to the insurance companies whether to reduce the extra benefits, or trim their own costs, profits and up to $100 million a year in CEO compensation pay to retain the extra benefits.

None of the regular guaranteed benefits of Medicare could be cut, much less by "64%" -- a figure proclaimed out of thin air by Sen. Chuck Grassley on Friday in an obvious attempt to make seniors think their basic benefits are at risk. In fact, the Senate bill strengthens preventive care benefits in traditional Medicare.

See more on Medicare Advantage issues at http://www.consumerwatchdog.org/patients/articles/?storyId=31440

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SOURCE Consumer Watchdog
Copyright©2009 PR Newswire.
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