Bad News All-Around Could Make Obama Lamest of Lame Ducks


Seniors were feeling the brunt of the government’s financial mismanagement, but things are about to get worse.

With the US economy in the doldrums, bank interest rates level with the basement floor, millions of people on food stamps, rather than out earning money, and a 6% cut to Medicare last year, there has been plenty of bad news for seniors.

Now we hear the U.S. government is expected to deliver more bad news to senior citizens this week, regarding Medicare plan payment changes for next year.

The effect on seniors?

Higher Medicare co-pays and lower benefits, according to industry officials.

That will be a different story from President Obama’s reversal on his pledge to make cutbacks on Social Security. Something the White House felt they would be held personally responsible for in an election year that could gravely harm Democrats.

According to information received, approximately 50 million senior Americans carry Medicare, and 15 million of those have Medicare Advantage plans. The other 35 million use Medicare fee-for-service programs, in which doctors are reimbursed by the government for patient visits and procedures.

Politically, the difference between Social Security and Medicare is that the White House could be blamed directly for any Social Security cuts, but Medicare is determined by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services who propose reimbursement rates.

So now you know why The White House just decided to scrap the cuts to Social Security – it would have made seniors angry with The White House and especially Democrats who are up for election in the mid-terms, this November.

We will have to wait another 45 days to see what they decide to do with Medicare.

It is rumored they will cut about 6 to 7 percent in the announcement this Friday. Obviously health insurance executives have been lobbying against such alarming cuts.

Some insurance companies are expected to eliminate plans and withdraw from certain markets. That is what happened last year, after the government cut rates by nearly 6 percent. This time the cuts are deeper.

Robert Zirkelbach, spokesman for the healthcare industry’s key trade and lobbying group, said “The concern is that a second consecutive 6 percent cut to the program will be devastating for seniors.”

Wow, what an understatement. Income for most seniors is dropping precipitously, and now the government may make life much harder.

It doesn’t really matter whether these cuts can be tied directly to the Obama administration, because seniors know the administration does have control.

Note to democrats: Good luck on holding the senior vote in the midterm elections this November.

Obama and Democrats were already under heavy political pressure because the disastrous Obamacare roll-out last October, that resulted in the loss of insurance plans, loss of doctors, loss of specialists and other continuing problems the law created for millions of seniors and other Americans.

In addition, investors in large Medicare Advantage businesses are likely to be increasingly angry as predicted payments decline.

CRT Capital analyst Sheryl Skolnick said, “It is by no means a secret. Everyone knows it is coming and everyone knows it is going to be bad.”

The hammer is expected to drop April 7, approximately a month before primary season begins.

Now that’s what you call perfect timing for a bombshell to drop.

Dwight L. Schwab Jr. is a moderate conservative who looks at all sides of a story, then speaks his mind. His BS in journalism from University of Oregon, with minors in political science and American history stands him in good stead for his writing.

Dwight has 30 years in the publishing industry, including ABC/Cap Cities and International Thomson. A native of Portland, Oregon, and now a resident of the San Francisco Bay Area.

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