Thursday, August 18, 2022

Wicker: Obamacare Cuts Impose Additional Burden on Seniors

OThe bad news continues about Obamacare, but the President and his Administration refuse to heed it. Instead, the law’s advocates are trying to salvage the massive failure by backpedaling expectations and boosting enrollment statistics. Recently on the Senate floor, Democratic Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) went so far as to say that the horror stories from Americans about the law’s real-life impact are “untrue.”
Mississippians, however, know the President’s health-care overhaul has real and painful consequences. I hear stories from concerned individuals and families in our state every day. They deserve better than the higher premiums, canceled plans, and fewer choices that the law has caused.
Both Parties Alarmed by President’s Cuts to Medicare
Especially troubling is the health-care law’s harmful impact on America’s seniors. Earlier this month, the Obama Administration announced even more drastic and deep cuts to Medicare Advantage – a popular health-care option that serves nearly a third of all Medicare patients, including some 56,000 Mississippians. The program incentivizes market-based competition to offer broader benefits and lower out-of-pocket costs. Most importantly, it has a track record of success, which is why 95 percent of Medicare Advantage members rate their quality of care as “very high.”
The Administration is wrong to raid hundreds of billions of dollars from effective Medicare programs to fund the President’s flawed law. Nineteen Senate Democrats have joined Republicans in urging the Administration to mitigate the harm that severe reductions would have on seniors across the country. And yet, many of these Democrats voted for the health-care law that imposed the cuts in the first place.
Cuts Could Force Seniors to Face Higher Costs, Fewer Options
Independent reports have outlined the ramifications of the health-care law’s Medicare cuts. These analyses anticipate that patients will be forced to switch plans or endure higher costs – a particularly devastating scenario for low-income seniors and those with a fixed income. Likewise, many physicians are concerned about whether their practices can continue to participate in Medicare plans. If they are unable to offer this coverage, seniors will be left with restricted access to doctors and health-care options. Once again, reality sharply contrasts with the President’s promise to Americans that “If you like your health-care plan, you can keep it.”
Health-Care Law Inflicts Life and Death Consequences
I recently spoke on the Senate floor about the heartbreaking human aspect of the President’s health-care law. I shared excerpts from a Wall Street Journal op-ed by Stephen Blackwood titled “ObamaCare and My Mother’s Cancer Medicine.” The author recounts his mother’s battle with cancer and the loss of life-saving medicine when her longtime health-care plan is canceled. He asks, “Will this injustice be remedied, for her and for millions of others? Or is my mother to die because she can no longer afford the treatment that keeps her alive?”
Like Mr. Blackwood’s mother, millions of Americans are losing the health-care plans that provided the services and treatments they need. By 2024, about 7 million are expected to lose employer-sponsored coverage and 31 million will still be uninsured.
The Obama Administration has arbitrarily delayed and changed the health-care law some two dozen times, but superficial fixes will not fully repair the damage that has been done. It is past time for the President and Democratic leaders in Congress to acknowledge that the law does not work. The solution is to repeal and replace Obamacare with reforms that give Americans the power to decide which health-care plan is best for them.
Roger-Wicker1–Mississippi Senator Roger Wicker is a former President of the Ole Miss Associated Student Body.

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