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Thread: Biden Has Enacted the Largest-Ever Medicare Premium Hikes

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    Default Biden Has Enacted the Largest-Ever Medicare Premium Hikes

    Biden Has Enacted the Largest-Ever Medicare Premium Hikes

    When Democrats get trounced this fall, this is one more reason why. Jacobin magazine is so far left it's self-proclaimed "socialist", by the way.

    Last week, the Joe Biden administration quietly reaffirmed its decision to enact the highest Medicare premium hikes in history right before this year’s midterm elections. At the same time, President Joe Biden is endorsing a plan to funnel significantly more Medicare money to insurance companies and further privatize the government insurance program for older Americans and those with disabilities.

    In effect, the higher premium increases will subsidize the larger payments to — and profits for — private insurance corporations. This comes after Biden raked in roughly $47 million from health care industry executives during his 2020 campaign.

    The Biden administration announced on May 27 that due to “legal and operational hurdles,” Medicare recipients won’t see their premiums lowered this year, even though that rate was originally hiked last November in large part due to the projected costs of paying for a controversial Alzheimer’s drug that Medicare now says it generally will not cover.

    The administration’s announcement comes as Biden officials move forward with a jolting 8.5 percent hike in payments made to private insurers operating Medicare Advantage plans next year.

    The juxtaposition between dramatically increasing payments to private insurance plans that provide less care for higher costs on the one hand and keeping seniors’ premiums artificially inflated on the other underscores the Biden administration’s conflicting commitments when it comes to Medicare. On the 2020 campaign trail, Biden pledged as president to “. . . continue to defend our nation’s commitment to older Americans and people with disabilities through Medicare.”

    But since taking office, Biden has expanded Medicare privatization by launching the involuntary ACO REACH program and through continuing to promote ever-increasing Medicare Advantage enrollment, and he has also raised premiums for Medicare recipients. The result, advocates say, is a situation in which Medicare’s sturdiness as an American institution is being steadily chipped away by well-connected corporate interests.

    “[The] privatization effort is reaching a frantic state, and Medicare Advantage is going to fail,” said Bill Kadereit, president of the American Retirees Education Foundation, due to the fact that the plans must pay profits to investors, unlike traditional Medicare plans. “The industry is hoping to cover up that failure with taxpayer subsidies that none of the taxpayers understand.”

    All Medicare recipients pay premiums for outpatient care, which is called Medicare Part B. That money can be funneled into traditional government Medicare plans or into Medicare Advantage plans run by private insurers that are incentivized to limit the amount of care that elders receive.

    The standard Part B premium for Medicare patients is now $170.10 per month — up 14.5 percent from last year, when it was $148.50. Half of the increase in premiums came from a single drug, Aduhelm, which, despite its June 2021 approval by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to treat Alzheimer’s disease, is not proven to do so.

    The timeline of Biden’s Medicare moves, then, is this:

    • In June 2021, Biden’s FDA approved the drug Aduhelm for treatment of Alzheimer’s, despite controversy involving alleged scientific disputes inside the agency over the drug’s efficacy and industry pressure on the internal review process.
    • In November 2021, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), which administers and oversees Medicare, approved the historic 14.5 percent premium increase for all Medicare beneficiaries. The announcement noted that among other reasons, the hike “reflects the need to maintain a contingency reserve for unanticipated increases in health care spending, particularly certain drug costs,” and specifically mentioned covering Aduhelm.
    • A few days later, in response to questions from CNN, CMS revealed that the projected cost of Aduhelm was alone responsible for half of the premium increase.
    • The resulting outcry led Aduhelm’s manufacturer, Biogen, to halve the drug’s price the following month.
    • In January 2022, Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra called on CMS to reassess those premium hikes this year.
    • In April 2022, Medicare instituted strict rules regarding who could receive the Aduhelm under its plans — but kept the higher premiums in place.
    • Around this same time, CMS announced a massive 8.5 percent increase in the rates paid to for-profit Medicare Advantage plans — despite the official body overseeing Medicare payments, the Medicare Payment Advisory Commission, concluding that Medicare Advantage is more costly than traditional Medicare.
    • On May 27, the Biden administration announced that despite the extraordinary premium hikes that stemmed from inaccurate price assumptions, they would not be lowering the monthly premium deducted from Social Security checks, instead saying any overcharges will be factored into next year’s Medicare premium calculations.
    • The Biden administration’s decision to keep Medicare premiums artificially inflated won’t just constrain the budgets of cash-strapped seniors — it also appears to be a politically suicidal move in an already fraught election year.



    So who benefits from the explosive rate increase? The major private insurance companies that helped bankroll Biden’s 2020 presidential campaign.

    “Medicare Advantage insurers such as United Healthcare, Anthem, and CVS/Aetna are celebrating record profits in the tens of billions of dollars,” said Dr Susan Rogers, president of Physicians for a National Healthcare Program. “Their business plan is simple: inflate their Medicare payments by making seniors look sicker than they are and then pocket more of those Medicare dollars by ruthlessly denying seniors’ care.”

    Meanwhile, more than 7 million seniors live in poverty and 7.3 million seniors are food insecure.

    It's amazing how much panic one honest man can spread among a multitude of hypocrites.
    - Thomas Sowell

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    Default Re: Biden Has Enacted the Largest-Ever Medicare Premium Hikes

    Suddenly you worried about seniors! Are you posting drunk again?

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    Default Re: Biden Has Enacted the Largest-Ever Medicare Premium Hikes

    Is that one of your meaningful posts?

    It's amazing how much panic one honest man can spread among a multitude of hypocrites.
    - Thomas Sowell

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    Default Re: Biden Has Enacted the Largest-Ever Medicare Premium Hikes

    Jacobin Magazine?

    Not sure where they got their numbers. $47 million? The FEC has it at $32 million.

    According to the FEC, Trump raked in quite a lot more: $54.2 million. Wonder why that might be?

    Last edited by Chip; June 11th, 2022 at 11:28 PM.

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    Default Re: Biden Has Enacted the Largest-Ever Medicare Premium Hikes

    Quote Originally Posted by dneal View Post
    Is that one of your meaningful posts?
    He just learned that saying the other day and is obviously so delighted with it, he's repeating it whether it tracks or not. Par for the course.
    _____________
    To Miasto

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    Default Re: Biden Has Enacted the Largest-Ever Medicare Premium Hikes

    Quote Originally Posted by ethernautrix View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by dneal View Post
    Is that one of your meaningful posts?
    He just learned that saying the other day and is obviously so delighted with it, he's repeating it whether it tracks or not. Par for the course.
    I figure a guy who posted misinformation about the pandemic, vilified the infectious disease experts and institutions, to which the virus took thousands of senior's lives who suddenly is concerned about old folks must either be drunk or delusional.

    Yesterday he was critical of another member who he said ran out of ideas and resorted to personal attacks. Again, was it the alcohol that is causing him to forget his own posting patterns?

    Yes, I did like Ted's "drunk post". It's hilarious and probably accurate.

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    Default Re: Biden Has Enacted the Largest-Ever Medicare Premium Hikes

    Quote Originally Posted by Chip View Post
    Jacobin Magazine?

    Not sure where they got their numbers. $47 million? The FEC has it at $32 million.

    According to the FEC, Trump raked in quite a lot more: $54.2 million. Wonder why that might be?

    Yep, Jacobin. Helps prevent the "shoot the messenger" fallacy, since no one can call it right-wing. Strangely, some folks who claim to read widely only post NYT and WashPost articles.

    Anyway, if you follow the link you'll find they cite their claim with a Business Insider article.

    We combed through records of 100 healthcare companies to see who their top executives are donating to in the 2020 election. They reveal a surprising trend.

    Healthcare executives are favoring Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden when it comes to their personal campaign donations, an Insider analysis has found.

    • Insider reviewed campaign-donation disclosures linked to 100 major healthcare companies this election cycle and found that CEOs from Merck, Independence Blue Cross, and Kaiser Permanente were among the largest contributors to Biden.
    • Biden has promised to raise taxes and overhaul the healthcare system partly by controlling prescription-drug prices and health-insurance costs. But that hasn't stopped healthcare bosses from choosing him over President Donald Trump.
    • "Executives in business like certainty," Bruce Freed, the president of the Center for Political Accountability, said. "And the fact is there has been a great deal of uncertainty and instability."

    Healthcare executives have a clear favorite for the White House, and it's not the person who gave them a big tax cut three years ago.

    America's top healthcare bosses are pouring cash into Democratic candidate Joe Biden's campaign and the outside groups supporting him, an Insider analysis of Federal Election Commission records and data compiled by the Center for Responsive Politics shows.

    Insider reviewed the campaign-spending records for executives at 100 major healthcare companies this election cycle, including drugmakers, insurers, health-tech companies, and hospitals.

    The Biden campaign has raised almost $47 million in personal donations from healthcare executives over the course of the 2020 cycle, while President Donald Trump's campaign has brought in $21 million, according to the Center for Responsive Politics, which runs the money-in-politics website Open Secrets.

    That does not include donations coming in through super PACs, the political-action committees allowed to raise unlimited amounts of money from people and companies.

    When combined with money from super PACs, Trump's numbers are inflated by donations from one main donor: Miriam Adelson, who runs a drug-rehabilitation clinic in Las Vegas and is the wife of GOP mega-donor Sheldon Adelson.

    The money going to Biden has come from CEOs, vice presidents, and other C-suite executives, from companies that include Kaiser Permanente, Merck & Co., McKesson Corp., and Independence Blue Cross. Some of the executives donating to Biden are from companies at the forefront of the coronavirus-vaccine creation being pushed by Trump, such as Moderna.
    The industry's preference for Biden over Trump is surprising considering the Republican president's business-friendly positions and the tax cuts he signed into law in 2017 that gave corporations a huge windfall.

    But Trump's executive actions to lower drug prices have not made him many friends in the industry. Those policies would take years to implement, and could be tied up in lawsuits from drug companies.

    Biden, on the other hand, has promised, if elected, to reduce health-insurance prices and cut the cost of prescription drugs. He would also raise taxes on rich people and corporations. And he has vowed to preserve and strengthen former President Barack Obama's Affordable Care Act that the healthcare industry supports and Trump is seeking to strike down.
    Biden is leading in the polls, and Democrats are within range of both winning control of the Senate and retaining their House majority.

    'Hedging bets'

    If Democrats win big, healthcare executives want in, and they're "hedging bets" ahead of a likely new administration, Bruce Freed, the president and cofounder of the nonpartisan Center for Political Accountability, said.

    "These folks want to be giving beforehand so that they can sort of have a foot in the door," Freed told Insider.

    The Trump campaign cast the donations to Biden as a sign that the Democratic candidate is too cozy with the pharmaceutical industry.

    "Joe Biden says he wants to bring down drug costs, but the Obama-Biden administration caved to drug makers during Obamacare negotiations, and based on the Big Pharma executives' donations to the Biden-Harris ticket, they feel confident he would cave to them again," Trump campaign spokeswoman Courtney Parella told Insider.

    The executives gave within the legal maximum for a federal candidate — $2,800 — and made larger donations through super PACs.

    "Some of these could be personally driven," Freed said. "I think some of them also are business-driven in terms of showing support, building relationships, even if it's a smaller amount. Clearly the fact that it's public, it sends a message."

    Among the biggest donors is Kenneth Frazier, the CEO of pharmaceutical giant Merck. He's given $50,000 to the Biden Victory Fund, a joint fundraising effort between Biden's campaign and the Democratic National Committee. Frazier also gave the $2,800 maximum contribution directly to the Biden campaign.

    Daniel Hilferty, the CEO of insurer Independence Blue Cross, donated $30,000 to Biden Victory Fund and contributed $2,800 to the Biden campaign.

    Applied Medical Resources Corp.'s CEO, Said Hilal, gave the Biden campaign $5,000 this year, according to the company, which said the FEC listing showing a higher donation of $11,000 was incorrect.

    Kaiser Permanente CEO Gregory Adams donated $2,800 directly to Biden's campaign and $5,600 to the Biden Victory Fund in May. A spokesperson said Kaiser Permanente doesn't make political contributions because it's a tax-exempt nonprofit, but that its employees aren't precluded from doing so.

    "Kaiser Permanente employees and physicians are free to engage in political activity on their own, if they choose to do so," the spokesperson told Insider.

    Lower-level executives are chipping in too. Mary Moreland, executive vice president for human resources at the health-devices company Abbott Laboratories, donated $5,600. The company created the rapid turnaround coronavirus tests that the White House has been using for routine checks on Trump, staffers, and guests.

    Two executives at McKesson, which will be distributing the coronavirus vaccine once it's available, also made personal donations to Biden. Lori Schechter, executive vice president and chief legal officer, donated $8,400. Robin Jacobsohn, the company's senior vice president and associate general counsel, gave $3,800.

    Insider also found about 30 other executives who gave within the maximum allowed donation of $2,800 for federal candidates. They include Brian Sandstrom, vice president and associate general counsel at Moderna, which is developing a coronavirus vaccine; Susan Alexander, executive vice president at biotech giant Biogen Inc.; Anil Soni, head of global infectious diseases at Mylan Inc., and Michael Putnam, senior vice president for consumer markets at Amwell, one of the US's largest telemedicine companies.

    Most representatives for the companies either didn't respond or declined to comment.

    Centene's big bet

    One noticeably large set of contributions to the Biden campaign and House Democrats came from Centene Corp., a health insurer that mainly focuses on partnering with the government to cover people who earn low incomes.

    The company was one of the biggest beneficiaries of the Affordable Care Act thanks to millions of newly insured people whose coverage was subsidized by the government. Biden helped create the healthcare law and wants to make sure it's improved rather than gutted, as Trump would prefer.


    At least five Centene executives have made maximum donations directly to Biden's campaign since May, records show. They include Jeffrey Schwaneke, the company's executive vice president, CFO, and treasurer; Thomas Irwin, a senior vice president; and executive vice president Brandy Burkhalter.

    The Biden campaign lists Centene's president and CEO Michael Neidorff among people who have helped raise more than $25,000 for the Democrat's election effort.
    Neidorff has personally given separate donations — each of $35,500 — to elect both House Democrats and Senate Republicans. But there's no indication he's given to Trump.

    The Biden campaign, which has made the 2020 election largely about healthcare, declined to comment on the donations pouring in from healthcare executives.
    'Executives in business like certainty'

    When super PAC money is included, Trump at first glance appears to be a favorite of the health sector. But his numbers are skewed by a huge haul tied to a single GOP mega- donor. All together, Biden's campaign and pro-Biden groups have brought in $54 million from health-industry donors compared with the $60 million Trump's reelection effort has received from individuals and super PACs.

    Sarah Bryner, the director of research and strategy at the Center for Responsive Politics, attributes the difference to a $37.5 million donation to pro-Trump super PAC Preserve America from Miriam Adelson of the Las Vegas-based Dr. Miriam and Sheldon G. Adelson Clinic for Drug Abuse Treatment and Research Inc.

    Insider reported in June that healthcare executives were passing up donations to Trump but that several had given to down-ballot Republicans, including House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy of California. Since then, as Election Day has drawn nearer and Biden has consistently held the lead in most polls, the Democratic candidate has picked up more donations from the industry's leaders.

    In other recent elections with an incumbent running, healthcare donations have favored Republicans. Mitt Romney hauled in $19.5 million in the 2012 cycle, slightly beating incumbent Obama's $19.2 million from the healthcare sector. President George W. Bush received $11.2 million for his 2004 reelection, topping the $7.9 million his Democratic rival John Kerry took in.
    Freed said he suspected that executives, when considering their donations, were thinking not just about how Trump conducts himself in office — "the rawness, the attacks, the atmosphere" — but also about broader issues that the country faces, notably the coronavirus crisis and racial injustice.

    "Executives in business like certainty," Freed said. "And the fact is there has been a great deal of uncertainty and instability."

    Biden is raking in donations from healthcare executives, including from Moderna, which is developing a coronavirus vaccine.

    Trump loses out to down-ballot Republicans

    It isn't to say that healthcare executives have ignored Republicans altogether this election season.

    According to campaign-finance records, Robert Bradway, the CEO of biopharmaceutical company Amgen Inc., has since June given $25,000 to the National Republican Congressional Committee, which supports House races.

    David Ricks, CEO of pharmaceutical giant Eli Lilly and Co., gave $10,000 to the NRCC and $5,000 to Majority Committee PAC, which is affiliated with McCarthy.

    Grant Verstandig, the chief digital officer at Optum, gave $46,740 to the Republican National Committee. Optum is a leading health-services company owned by UnitedHealth Group, the nation's largest insurer. Verstandig originally came to his role after founding digital health company Rally Health, which Optum now owns.

    But Freed cautioned against comparing Trump to other Republicans, saying that business leaders have faced backlash for supporting the president, who openly lashes out at companies and individuals.

    "There might be a sense that even if they disagree with the Democrats and with Biden on policy," Freed said, "I think they would say that it would return sort of a more normal environment in terms of how things are dealt with."
    Looks like their "investment" into the Biden campaign paid off. Imagine that.
    Last edited by dneal; June 12th, 2022 at 07:08 AM. Reason: formatted BI article paragraphs

    It's amazing how much panic one honest man can spread among a multitude of hypocrites.
    - Thomas Sowell

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    Default Re: Biden Has Enacted the Largest-Ever Medicare Premium Hikes

    Quote Originally Posted by Chuck Naill View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by ethernautrix View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by dneal View Post
    Is that one of your meaningful posts?
    He just learned that saying the other day and is obviously so delighted with it, he's repeating it whether it tracks or not. Par for the course.
    I figure a guy who posted misinformation about the pandemic, vilified the infectious disease experts and institutions, to which the virus took thousands of senior's lives who suddenly is concerned about old folks must either be drunk or delusional.

    Yesterday he was critical of another member who he said ran out of ideas and resorted to personal attacks. Again, was it the alcohol that is causing him to forget his own posting patterns?

    Yes, I did like Ted's "drunk post". It's hilarious and probably accurate.
    Is this another of your meaningful posts?

    It's amazing how much panic one honest man can spread among a multitude of hypocrites.
    - Thomas Sowell

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    Default Re: Biden Has Enacted the Largest-Ever Medicare Premium Hikes

    Yes, to them that have ears, let them hear.

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    Default Re: Biden Has Enacted the Largest-Ever Medicare Premium Hikes

    Do you intend to address the topic?

    It's amazing how much panic one honest man can spread among a multitude of hypocrites.
    - Thomas Sowell

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    Default Re: Biden Has Enacted the Largest-Ever Medicare Premium Hikes

    Quote Originally Posted by Chuck Naill View Post

    Yes, I did like Ted's "drunk post". It's hilarious and probably accurate.
    Drop it already, Chuck.

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    Default Re: Biden Has Enacted the Largest-Ever Medicare Premium Hikes

    So, I did some research. Biden proposed expanding coverage to include vision and dental plus lowing the age to 60. Then an Alzheimer drug cost increased policy costs. Then I read that Biden will not roll back premiums. All this in 2021 and the price increase was $21.

    What to consider is that your SS is determined by your historical pay and what your wealth upon retirement. For me it says folks havnent been able to generate wealth. Some got no family wealth. And some had other reasons for not being able to deal with $20 more per month.

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    Default Re: Biden Has Enacted the Largest-Ever Medicare Premium Hikes

    Not only have they not been able to generate wealth, because interest rates do not encourage saving; but any wealth accumulated is now of less value because of inflation (much of which results from dollar devaluation due to government printing of money).

    But that ignores the point that crony capitalism has created an obvious system where politicians receive donations on the assumption they will make decisions that benefit those who donate. That is not a Democrat or Republican issue, and both parties do it. The article simply points out one example where the current President appears to perpetuate this arrangement.

    It's amazing how much panic one honest man can spread among a multitude of hypocrites.
    - Thomas Sowell

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    Default Re: Biden Has Enacted the Largest-Ever Medicare Premium Hikes

    What your solution?

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    Default Re: Biden Has Enacted the Largest-Ever Medicare Premium Hikes

    Repeal the 17th amendment, for a start.

    It's amazing how much panic one honest man can spread among a multitude of hypocrites.
    - Thomas Sowell

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    Default Re: Biden Has Enacted the Largest-Ever Medicare Premium Hikes

    How would that help?

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    Default Re: Biden Has Enacted the Largest-Ever Medicare Premium Hikes

    It restores the States’ representation in the Legislature. It reduces the probability of unfunded mandates. It makes lobbying of 1/2 of the Legislature much more difficult. It restores the Senate to its intended role.

    It's amazing how much panic one honest man can spread among a multitude of hypocrites.
    - Thomas Sowell

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    Default Re: Biden Has Enacted the Largest-Ever Medicare Premium Hikes

    I’m trying to link what you think to your topic. How would this solve the problem you see with Medicare premiums?

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    Default Re: Biden Has Enacted the Largest-Ever Medicare Premium Hikes

    The problem isn't just with medicare premiums. Medicare is a separate and complex issue on its own.

    The topic uses medicare as a conduit for discussion on: special interests (the article) and election strategy (my comment).

    To answer your question: It creates a roadblock for lobbyists.

    It's amazing how much panic one honest man can spread among a multitude of hypocrites.
    - Thomas Sowell

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    Default Re: Biden Has Enacted the Largest-Ever Medicare Premium Hikes

    Oh, why didn’t you just say that? Wouldn’t campaign reform and contribution regulations also do the same?

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