President Obama has for the past several months attacked Republicans for Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI)’s Medicare “voucher” plan but now that the DNC is over, he’s waffled and is attempting a similar program through the HHS.
In his convention speech in Charlotte, President Obama vowed to block the Republican Medicare reform plan because “no American should ever have to spend their golden years at the mercy of insurance companies.”
But back in Washington, his Health and Human Services Department is launching a pilot program that would shift up to 2 million of the poorest and most-vulnerable seniors out of the federal Medicare program and into private health insurance plans overseen by the states.
The administration has accepted applications from 18 states to participate in the program, which would give states money to purchase managed-care plans for people who are either disabled or poor enough to qualify for both Medicare and Medicaid. HHS approved the first state plan, one for Massachusetts, last month.
The difference between the Ryan plan and Obama’s HHS program is that seniors have the free choice to opt in.
Most states are proposing to automatically enroll people. Those who don’t want to participate would need to opt out. The Massachusetts plan includes that feature.
Under Obama’s plan, they do not, and in only a few states will seniors have to opt back in to their previous coverage. It’s the poorest seniors who will be used as a test group for Obama’s plan. Democrats will have to revise their “Ryan throwing randma off a cliff” strategy.