Taxpayer-funded Medicare Ad Inadvertently Makes Case for Choice

Falling behind in the polls and losing their advantage on the issue of Medicare, President Obama’s allies have concocted a new myth: seniors are incompetent.

That’s right. A new Kaiser “study” assumes seniors don’t like lower prices.  As the Heritage Foundation notes, “Already, 90 percent of retirees can and do choose the private health plans they like, ranging from supplemental insurance to Medicare Advantage and Medicare drug plans.”

Case in point is a new taxpayer-funded ad alerting seniors to Medicare’s open enrollment period.

The ad shows smiling, relaxed adults enjoying life and browsing the internet to “compare plans.”  The ad clarifies that “you don’t have to make changes, but it’s good to look” because “maybe you can find better coverage, save money, or both.”


That is the very argument that conservatives, and the Romney-Ryan campaign, make with regard to premium support.  Heritage’s Bob Moffit, Ph.D., explains:

“Medicare premium support, long a bipartisan proposal, is the best alternative to this unhappy scenario. It would guarantee better choices and broader access to quality care, faster innovation in care delivery, and less waste and fraud in medical transactions. It would also deliver superior cost control. For the next generation of taxpayers and retirees alike, there is no better future.”

In an attempt at explaining the Kaiser “study,” the Washington Post says, “Seniors stick with the plan they have, even as its costs go up and up. Once a senior chooses a plan, he or she rarely switches, even when more low-cost options are available.”

Let’s set aside this nonsense, because as AEI’s Joe Antos says, “My Mom isn’t that dumb.”

The heart of the argument advanced by President Obama and his allies is that a premium support plan is extreme.  It is hard to paint the notion of choice, cost savings, etc, as radical when your administration is running ads (at taxpayer expense) touting those virtues.


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