Socking it to the Poor

It is bad enough that the federal cigarette tax will more than double under the Obama Administration, disproportionately affecting the poor. But now low-income seniors may pay more generic viagra professional for their health insurance. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services is reducing payments to insurers for Medicare Advantage plans. Medicare Advantage is a private plan in which the government reimburses insurers rather than physicians. It allows seniors to buy into plans that provide more benefits than traditional Medicare at a lesser cost. These plans are particularly appealing to low-income seniors. However, reducing payments to insurers will force insurers to recoup the payments elsewhere, most likely by in

creasing seniors' premiums. (Read more in the Wall Street Journal)

An estimated 9 million seniors are covered on Medicare Advantage. In 2004, America's Health Insurance Plans (AHIP) estimated that almost half of Medicare Advantage enrollees had incomes of less than $20,000 a year. Lower costs was the primary reason that enrollees chose Medicare Advantage. If the new administration truly wants to provide health insurance for all, it could start by not chipping away at a program that already provides coverage to 9 million.

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