The Obama Administration found a whole lot of ways to steal the 2012 election…
… $8.3 billion ways – and then some.
They gave away tons of free money in the form of massive increases in welfare entitlements, they had the IRS violate the civil rights of conservative, religious and Tea Party groups opposed to them and they paid off seniors on Medicare to the tune of $8.3 billion.
Take a look at the “Medicare Advantage Quality Bonus Payment Demonstration” research project concocted by Katherine Sibelius. Is it research? No, it’s a slush fund.
$8.3 billion buys you a lot of research.
It’s almost half NASA’s annual budget, and more than the National Science Foundation spends each year.
It’s more than the cost to build the Large Hadron Collider (LHC), with money left over for the particle accelerator’s operating costs. It’s enough to build and launch the Hubble Space Telescope (HST). It’s more than the cost of the Human Genome Project (HGP), and enough to fund 8,300 research grants of a million dollars each.
When you spend $8.3 billion on research, you expect to find out something good.
And $8.3 billion is what’s been spent by the Obama administration on the “Medicare Advantage Quality Bonus Payment Demonstration.” So what have we learned from it?
Some background: Medicare Advantage – AKA “Medicare Part C” – is a managed care alternative to regular Medicare in which the government pays private insurers for the health coverage of seniors. While popular, many people (including President Barack Obama) have called for cuts to Medicare Advantage, because it costs more per senior citizen than traditional Medicare. And, under the 2010 Affordable Care Act (ACA) – AKA “Obamacare” – that’s precisely what was set to happen: Medicare Advantage would continue, but at per-senior funding levels more in line with traditional fee-for-service Medicare.
However, about a quarter of the seniors on Medicare – 12 million or more people – opt for Medicare Advantage. It has more benefits, more choice, and better preventive care. The cuts to Medicare Advantage were going to be unpopular.
However, a few months before the 2012 elections, the Obama administration decided to spend $8.3 billion to partially offset those cuts. Congress didn’t authorize this infusion of funds; rather, the Health and Human Services Department (under Secretary Kathleen Sebelius) said they were funding a three-year “demonstration project” to investigate how certain payment methods affect the efficiency and quality of Medicare services.
Seniors are hit hardest by ObamaCare – but as long as the Administration keeps rewriting the rules and giving waivers and putting off mandates, they’ll keep buying off voters.
There’s no one there to stop them either.