“Democrats claim that they haven’t raided Medicare, because the ACA doesn’t cut benefits. This is technically true but misses the larger point. If cuts to providers fall below the cost of actually providing those services to Medicare patients, providers will limit or stop offering those services to patients. Put another way, seniors will be offered fewer benefits.”

“So providers are rejecting the ACO model on the front end — nervous about the significant and costly administrative burdens they’ll pose. But if they fight through the red tape and establish the ACOs that Obamcare wants them, they’ll find themselves unrestrained by competition and free to raise prices. Not exactly what the Obama Administration has in mind.”

“Paul Ryan warned Wednesday night that President Barack Obama’s health care law was the greatest threat to the Medicare program, but mentioned few details of his own ambitious plans to reform the program.
In his speech accepting the vice presidential nomination at the Republican National Convention, Ryan attacked the president’s law and its cuts to the popular Medicare program.”

“These problems with the Medicare program predate the passage of Obamacare. For decades, politicians have been wrestling with Medicare’s runaway costs. Conventional fixes, like raising the retirement age, reducing benefits, or raising premiums were considered politically toxic. So instead, Congress sought the path of least resistance: paying doctors and hospitals less to provide the same level of service.”

“Ultimately, what we should want is a Medicare system that pays primary-care physicians without the maddening inconveniences. We should want a way of paying primary-care physicians that no longer puts them at the mercy of the RUC, that eliminates most if not all Medicare-related billing costs for primary care, and renders the SGR moot.”

“It’s all part of health reform (ObamaCare). For the past few months the federal government has been quietly and secretly enrolling millions of elderly and disabled people into ACOs without their knowledge or consent. By quietly I mean that the government isn’t telling you about it and it has no plans to tell you about it. By secretly, I mean the whole procedure is being conducted under the radar screen. I know of no place you can write or call or go online to find out what ACO you’ve been assigned to.”

“Government auditors Wednesday questioned the legality of a costly Medicare bonus program, escalating a running skirmish in the broader battle over President Barack Obama’s health care law and its consequences for seniors.
In a letter to the administration, Government Accountability Office General Counsel Lynn Gibson wrote that the nonpartisan agency remains concerned about Medicare’s legal authority to undertake the $8.3 billion Medicare Advantage quality bonus program.”

“IPAB’s unelected members will have effectively unfettered power to impose taxes and ration care for all Americans, whether the government pays their medical bills or not. In some circumstances, just one political party or even one individual would have full command of IPAB’s lawmaking powers. IPAB truly is independent, but in the worst sense of the word. It wields power independent of Congress, independent of the president, independent of the judiciary, and independent of the will of the people.”

“There is bipartisan concern that the IPAB could harm Medicare and limit access to care for seniors. The IPAB is a panel of 15 unelected, unaccountable government bureaucrats empowered to ‘reduce the per capita rate of growth in Medicare spending.’ In the text of the healthcare law, it states that while the law prohibits ‘any recommendation to ration health care,’ it does not prohibit slashing payments to physicians and other medical providers.”

On Monday, e21 sponsored a discussion, moderated by National Journal’s Major Garrett, between Charles Blahous and Jared Bernstein. The topic was Blahous’ recent paper entitled “The Fiscal Consequences of the Affordable Care Act” (published by the Mercatus Center of George Mason University). Click through for post-debate commentary from Jim Capretta, to watch the video, and read the presentations.