Medicare Advantage first came into existence in 1997 as part of Balanced Budget Act of 1997. As is the case in compromise the Democrats dropped their opposition to Advantage in order to reach a budget compromise that President Clinton could sign. It has never been popular among Democrats as it is administered by private insurers and the billing is not run through CMS. While passing Obamacare the Democrats took the opportunity to cut $156 billion over 10 years from the program and now the effects are beginning to hurt senior Americans.
Thousands of primary-care doctors and specialists across the country have been terminated from privately run Medicare Advantage plans, sparking a battle between doctors who say patient care is being threatened and insurers that insist they have to reduce costs and streamline their operations. Just as in Obamacare, insurance companies must reduce their provider networks to contain costs.
About 30% of Medicare beneficiaries are enrolled in Medicare Advantage. Cuts to Medicare Advantage helped fund the ACA's coverage expansion, which you might remember was a central part of the GOP attack during the 2012 campaign. Republicans refined their narrative in the special congressional election in Florida's district 22 where a nobody Republican named David Jolly defeated Democratic rising star, super star Alex Sink. In that district 22% of the electorate is over age 64. Voter turnout in this year's mid term will most likely mimic the electorate demographic of Florida 22.
In the blowout year of 2010 61% of citizens age 65 and older voted, the best turnout of any age group. More than half (54 percent) of those ages 55 to 64 also cast a ballot. Those under age 45 are much less likely to vote. Just 37 percent of 25- to 44-year-olds made it to the polls in November 2010. And not even a quarter (21 percent) of the youngest citizens—ages 18 to 24—entered a voting booth in 2010. That trend seems to be holding this year. In the Illinois Democratic primary with a hotly contest governor's race just 19,000 voters under age 45 made it to the polls in the city of Chicago. That city has a population of about 2.7 million.
Properly framed the cuts to Medicare Advantage have the potential to be the major issue in the fall elections. Every senior has a vested interest in Medicare and almost a third of seniors have Medicare Advantage. This popular program has been ravaged by the pure vindictiveness of the Obamacare supporter in Congress. They need to go! Medicare Advantage rates differ from from one geographical area to another depending on the age of the Medicare pool. To see how deeply it has been cut in your area click on the box below.