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We all know and love Andy Griffith from his years as Sheriff Andy Taylor on the Andy Griffith show, but unfortunately a recent ad he did on behalf of the Obama administration to try and soothe the nerves of senior citizens worried that they could be losing some of their Medicare benefits as a result of the passage of ObamaCare was short on the facts. First, the ad:
Griffith, unfortunately, has been hoodwinked. FactCheck.org explains:
In a new TV spot from the Obama administration, actor Andy Griffith, famous for his 1960s portrayal of the top law enforcement official in the fictional town of Mayberry, N.C., touts benefits of the new health care law. Griffith tells his fellow senior citizens, “like always, we’ll have our guaranteed [Medicare] benefits.” But the truth is that the new law is guaranteed to result in benefit cuts for one class of Medicare beneficiaries — those in private Medicare Advantage plans.
The White House released the ad on the 45th anniversary of the Medicare program, and said it would run nationally on cable TV networks. Griffith, whose “Andy Griffith Show” was a TV comedy hit at the time Medicare was first enacted in 1965, explains the “good things” that the new health care law will mean for Medicare beneficiaries.
“This year, like always, we’ll have our guaranteed benefits,” he says. An announcement of the ad on the White House website reinforces that claim, saying: “Under the Affordable Care Act … Seniors guaranteed Medicare benefits will remain the same.” But the truth is, for millions of seniors, benefits won’t remain the same.
As we wrote most recently last December, about 10 million Medicare Advantage recipients could see their extra benefits reduced by an average of $43 per month, according to the Congressional Budget Office. And more recently, a detailed analysis by the Medicare program’s own chief actuary, Richard Foster, stated in April:
Medicare Actuary Richard Foster: The new provisions will generally reduce MA rebates to plans and thereby result in less generous benefit packages. We estimate that in 2017, when the MA provisions will be fully phased in, enrollment in MA plans will be lower by about 50 percent (from its projected level of 14.8 million under the prior law to 7.4 million under the new law).
Even the head of the White House Office of Health Reform, Nancy-Ann DeParle, acknowledges that Medicare Advantage benefits are going to be reduced. “I’m sure that some of those additional benefits have been nice,” the Wall Street Journal quoted her as saying in a July 25 report. “But I think what we have to look at here is what’s fair and what’s important for the strength of the Medicare program long term.”
It’s actually worse that that, according to Cato at Liberty:
FactCheck.org neglects to mention that ObamaCare will weaken the guarantee behind those “guaranteed” benefits, too. Medicare’s chief actuary Richard Foster notes that ObamaCare ratchets down Medicare’s price controls, which will “possibly jeopardiz[e] access to care for beneficiaries.” That’s not to say that the old price-control scheme is any better than the new one. It just means that the Obama administration is being even less honest and more weaselly than FactCheck.org says.
And they’re dragging Matlock down with them.
And this post wouldn’t be complete without a reminder about the kind of health care rationing zealot President Obama has chosen to be his “Medicare/Medicaid czar.”
All of the worst things you ever heard about ObamaCare prior to its passage? It was all true.