Democrats have been accusing Paul Ryan of wanting to end Medicare as we know it for years since he first put his "Path to Prosperity" proposal up for discussion. Those attacks have intensified since Mitt Romney chose Paul Ryan as his Vice Presidential running mate and Obama has said, and I quote "And I will — I will never turn Medicare into a voucher." (Video here)
Ed Morrissey over at Hot Air headlines with "Surprise! HHS pilot program to send 2 million poor seniors from Medicare into … voucher programs"
The difference between Obama's little pilot program and Ryan's is that Ryan's offered a choice between his vouchers and traditional Medicare and Obama's automatically puts people into his plan and they would have to opt out to receive traditional Medicare.
Via Hot Air:
Expiration date — the very next day:
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.Bear in mind that Ryan’s plan made the vouchers optional; seniors could choose the traditional government-run Medicare plan or opt for a private insurance plan from a federal exchange of approved insurers. Ryan also allows all seniors to choose, and didn’t force the poorest seniors to take the voucher option. Not only will Obama push just the poorest seniors into this plan, in some states they’d have to know to opt back in to traditional Medicare:
California is already counting on more than $500 million in budget savings from its own program this year. 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.Talk about leaving seniors — the poorest seniors! — “at the mercy of insurance companies.” And why has HHS decided to roll out this pilot program? As Paul Ryan has argued all along, the competition will drive down costs, especially given the headaches associated with government bureaucracy for dual-qualified seniors:
Potential cost savings are a big incentive for states. Patients who qualify for both federal health programs are a costly population and include many who need nursing-home care or other expensive services. About 40 percent of Medicaid’s costs go toward patients who are also eligible for Medicare. Advocates of the pilot program also say it could lead to better coordination of care for patients who often struggle to navigate the two different programs.
Hypocrisy, thy name is Obama.