Administration: Medicare Is Fine! Medicare: We're Not Fine

May 27th, 2010 2:12 PM

Be on the lookout for media coverage of the new Medicare brochure. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) sent out this glossy piece this week to more than 40 million Medicare recipients telling them that with ObamaCare, everything is dandy!

In fact, the CMS mail piece - which likely cost $8 million at the least - wildly exaggerates claims of patient security and ignores what CMS itself has declared to be true about ObamaCare.

The mailer gushes that "Medicare is strong and solvent" and that beneficiaries will see "better access to care."

"This brochure provides you with accurate information about the new services and benefits to help you and your family now and in the future," it says.

For a side-by-side comparison of the brochure's claims versus CMS's own report on Medicare and ObamaCare, check out the Senate Republican Communications Center. An example of this straightforward comparison:

CMS MAILER: "Improvements To Medicare Advantage."

CMS ACTUARY: "The New Provisions Will Generally Reduce [Medicare Advantage] Rebates To Plans And Thereby Result In Less Generous Benefit Packages."

And this is timed just as Congress comes face to face with the annual reality that there really is no money to pay doctors for treating Medicare patients. Every year they are supposed to cut payments to doctors, and every year they don't - because that would pull the foundation out from under the program. Still, delaying reality can't go on forever.

Kudos are due to the Associated Press's Ricardo Alonso-Zaldivar, who wrote May 27: "For the third time this year, Congress is scrambling to stave off a hefty pay cut to doctors treating Medicare patients even as the Obama administration mails out a glossy brochure to reassure seniors the health care program is on solid ground."

His AP story quotes one of many doctors hoping Congress will keep Medicare funding, affirming that her practice accepts few new Medicare patients "since the program pays her medical group well below private insurers' rates." This isn't exactly leading to "better access to care," as CMS touts it.

Will other media outlets call out the administration for this blatant doublespeak on Medicare?