New AHIP Ad Spouts Misinformation To Frighten Seniors

October 13, 2009 3:54 pm ET

America's Health Insurance Plans (AHIP) has released a new ad targeting senior citizens in its fight against transformative health care reform.  Unfortunately for the ad's home viewers, the ad is simply a flashy delivery system for the same, standard Republican misinformation.

AHIP Puts Seniors In The Crosshairs


AHIP Narrator: "Most people agree that we need to reform health care.  But is it right to ask 10 million seniors on Medicare Advantage for more than their fair share?  Congress is proposing over $100 billion in cuts to Medicare Advantage. The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office says many seniors will see cuts in benefits.  And Colorado is hit hard.  Call your senators...." [AHIP Ad via Huffington Post, 10/13/09]

First And Foremost - Congress Isn't Finished With The Legislation Yet

While the AHIP ad attempts to portray Congressional efforts at reform as a done deal, today's Senate Finance Committee vote is just one more step towards a finished piece of legislation.

NPR: "This Is Not The End Of The Debate. Nor Are We Anywhere Close To Seeing The Final Product."  NPR reported: "The Senate Finance Committee -- with its 13 Democrats and 10 Republicans -- voted 14-9 to approve its version of the health-care overhaul plan. All 13 Democrats voted yes, along with one Republican -- Maine's Olympia Snowe. Before the full Senate can act, it will have to merge the Finance Committee bill with that of the Health Committee's version, which does not include the public option and which is more expensive. Then, the Senate bill will have to merge with whatever the House votes out, and there are three competing committee bills there as well. So, while all eyes have been on today's Finance Committee vote, this is not the end of the debate. Nor are we anywhere close to seeing the final product." [, 10/13/09]

Second - The CBO Refers To Medicare "Savings" Not Cuts

CBO: Cost Changes To Medicare Made From Savings. According to the CBO letter to Senator Baucus: "Changes to the Medicare program and changes to Medicaid and CHIP other than those associated directly with expanded insurance coverage:  Savings from those provisions are estimated to total $93 billion in 2019, and CBO projects that, in combination, they will increase by 10 percent to 15 percent per year in the next decade." [, 10/7/09]

CBO: Medicare Savings Made To Payment Structures.  The CBO reported that the Medicare savings would include the following provisions:

  • "Permanent reductions in the annual updates to Medicare's payment rates for most services in the fee-for-service sector (other than physicians' services), yielding budgetary savings of $162 billion over 10 years"
  • "Setting payment rates in the Medicare Advantage program on the basis of the average of the bids submitted by Medicare Advantage plans in each market, yielding savings of an estimated $117 billion (before interactions) over the 2010-2019 period."  [, 10/7/09, parentheses original]

Third - AHIP Did Not Base Ad On Current Information

AHIP's ad cites the Congressional Budget Office from September 22, 2009 in the onscreen text.  However, the CBO has released updated information on the Baucus Plan under review at the time of the ad's release. 


September CBO Letter: We Haven't Finished Reviewing The Legislation.  The September 22, 2009 letter to Senator Baucus from the Congressional Budget Office explicitly states: "The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) has not completed a review of the document entitled 'Chairman's Mark, America's Healthy Future Act,' which I understand has been subsequently modified." [, 9/22/09]