tries to stifle companies from disclosing this?
“On Tuesday, the Congressional Budget Office director told Mr. Baucus’s committee that its plan to cut $123 billion from Medicare Advantage—the program that gives almost one-fourth of seniors private health-insurance options—will result in lower benefits and some 2.7 million people losing this coverage….
Imagine that. Last week Mr. Baucus ordered Medicare regulators to investigate and likely punish Humana Inc. for trying to educate enrollees in its Advantage plans about precisely this fact. Jonathan Blum, acting director of a regulatory office in the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), said that a mailer Humana sent its customers was “misleading and confusing to beneficiaries, who may believe that it represents official communication about the Medicare Advantage program.”
Mr. Blum has also banned all Advantage contractors from telling their customers what Mr. Elmendorf has just told Congress. Mr. Blum happens to be a former senior aide to Mr. Baucus and a health adviser on the Obama transition team.
Meanwhile, we have the case of the Association for the Advancement of Retired Persons (AARP), and its fanciful Medicare claims. The self-styled seniors lobby is using all its money and influence to cheer on ObamaCare, even though polls show that most retired persons oppose it. AARP has spent millions of dollars on its TV ad campaign and bulletins and newsletters to its members, including eight million direct-mail letters over Labor Day. The AARP Web site claims that it is a “myth” that “health care reform will hurt Medicare,” while it is a “fact” that “none of the health care reform proposals being considered by Congress will cut Medicare benefits or increase your out-of-pocket costs.”
So why hasn’t AARP also come under CMS scrutiny? Could that be because AARP, which markets its own branded Advantage plans with United HealthCare that have 1.7 million enrollees, is a reliable liberal ally? Certainly its claims are “misleading and confusing”—given that in this instance it is empirically untrue, unlike Humana’s attempt at edification. Seniors might even think AARP’s falsehoods represent official communication about the Medicare Advantage program. But don’t expect Mr. Baucus or CMS to impose its gag rule on the AARP’s pro-ObamaCare advocacy.
What do you think?
tonalc, and the same principles didn’t apply to AARP’s mailings and web page, why, exactly?
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