GOP lashes out at healthcare cuts

Rep. Tom Rooney (R-Fla.) lashed out at the Obama administration on Saturday over upcoming cuts to the popular federal program that allows private companies to enroll the elderly under Medicare.

In the weekly Republican address, Rooney warned about “deep cuts to the successful Medicare Advantage program” as a result of ObamaCare. He said cuts from the healthcare law would force senior citizens to pay more for their healthcare and lose access to their doctors.

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“This goes well beyond a glitch or a pocketbook issue,” Rooney said.

“This is a breach of faith.”

Medicare Advantage, which is considered an alternative to the traditional government program, is a “win-win program that gives seniors more control over their care and delivers better value for both them and the taxpayer,” Rooney said.

“But now, because of the president’s health care law, I'm hearing from seniors in my district who have already lost their doctors. Constituents tell me they can no longer see the primary care physicians they have been going to for ten and even twenty years,” he said.

In a week, the administration is expected to announce the 2015 rates for Medicare Advantage, which enrolls about one-third of all Medicare beneficiaries. Insurers are bracing for steep cuts, and Republicans are preparing to pounce on the news.

Under ObamaCare, about $200 billion are expected to be cut from Medicare Advantage over the next decade.

Republicans seem keen to make the issue a central point of the midterm elections.

Last week, Republican leaders in the House including Speaker John Boehner (Ohio) and Majortity Leader Eric Cantor (Va.) wrote to Obama voiced “deep concern” about the upcoming cuts. GOP lawmakers have pushed the administration to repeal the Affordable Care Act and block the changes to the Medicare Advantage program. 

After all the assurances he gave older Americans, shouldn’t the president develop a plan to address the problems his law is causing them? That’s what our letter asks him to do,” Rooney said.

“Let's work together to repeal this law so we can focus on better solutions that lower costs for all Americans, especially our parents and grandparents,” he added. “We pledge to do our part, and now we ask the president to do his. 

Supporters of ObamaCare have defended the cuts, which they say balances a flaw with traditional Medicare.