In Politico, Senators Richard Burr and Tom Coburn present a criticism of Obama’s health care policies that is all too rare among Republicans. They do warn that health care is becoming too expensive and that Medicare is unsustainable, but they don’t stop at complaining about the cost. In fact, they worry that Obamacare cut Medicare by too much:
Unfortunately, President Barack Obama’s health care overhaul reduced [Medicare Advantage] payments – spending the money instead on new bureaucracies and government programs. As a result, according to the Medicare actuary, by 2017, roughly half of seniors who like their MA plan probably would lose it.
It also took about $530 billion from Medicare to spend on new programs not for seniors. The law created an independent payment board of unelected Medicare czars, who can reduce reimbursements to health care providers who care for seniors.
All these changes are wrongheaded and will hurt seniors’ access to care.
In other words, the concern is that the quality of care provided to seniors will suffer, not just that it will be too expensive. By cutting Medicare Advantage, which is a program that allows Medicare recipients to choose private plans, and decreasing payments to traditional Medicare, Obama’s lowering the quality of care without addressing the fiscal problems posed by Medicare.
For some reason, Republican criticisms of Obamacare have focused almost solely on the cost of the bill and the possibility that it will dampen job creation. Those concerns are valid, but they pale in comparison to the harm Obamacare will do in terms of limiting people’s health care choices — especially for seniors.