In a move some critics are saying is motivated by politics, the Health and Human Services department has made a move to help millions of senior citizens who could be adversely affected by cuts in President Obama’s health care reform law.
HHS will award quality bonuses to hundreds of Medicare Advantage plans that have previously been ranked as “average.” This will infuse $6.7 billion into the system and will head off service cuts,
The change will also head off a great deal of ill will that would have been directed toward the president and other Democratic candidates in the 2012 elections, a fact that has been criticized by many GOP lawmakers.
Sen. Orrin Hatch of Utah and Rep. Dave Camp of Michigan said the move “may represent a thinly veiled use of taxpayer dollars for political purposes.” It is true that senior citizens are some of the most deeply skeptical of all Americans about the fairness of the new health care law.
A recent poll found that 62 percent of seniors disapprove of the Obama administration’s handling of health care compared to 52 percent of Americans overall who register their discontent on the subject.
A Medicare spokesman, Brian Cook, insisted, however, that the policy shift is meant only to preserve quality of care. “We are looking at whether an alternative payment incentive structure would lead to broader quality improvements across all Medicare Advantage plans, by giving incentives for a broader range of plans to improve.”
The health care reform package cut $145 billion from Medicare Advantage over a ten year period to correct what has been acknowledged as a trend toward over-payment.