It’s hard to imagine a bigger electoral disaster for a president than seniors in crucial states like Florida, Pennsylvania and Ohio discovering that he’s taken away their beloved Medicare Advantage just weeks before an election. This political ticking time bomb could become the biggest “October Surprise” in US political history.
But the administration’s devised a way to postpone the pain one more year, getting Obama past his last election; it plans to spend $8 billion to temporarily restore Medicare Advantage funds so that seniors in key markets don’t lose their trusted insurance program in the middle of Obama’s re-election bid.
The money is to come from funds that Health and Human Services is allowed to use for “demonstration projects.” But to make it legal, HHS has to pretend that it’s doing an “experiment” to study the effect of this money on the insurance market.
That is, to “study” what happens when the government doesn’t change anything but merely continues a program that’s been going on for years.
G.A.O. claims it's a waste of money, but the Administration continues the program anyway:
The report, to be issued Monday by the Government Accountability Office, a nonpartisan investigative arm of Congress, urges the Obama administration to cancel the program, which pays bonuses to health insurance companies caring for millions of Medicare beneficiaries.
Administration officials, however, defended the project and said they would not cancel it because it could improve the quality of care for older Americans.