Obama kills Sen. Nelson's 'Gator-aid"
The health care plan President Obama will outline today specifically eliminates the Medicare Advantage protection Sen. Bill Nelson fought for and secured in the previous incarnation of the bill. The protection would have offset cuts for hundreds of thousands of Floridians.
But it was one of several perceived handouts to Democratic senators in exchange for their support -- controversy that helped grind the bill to the ground.
"There are provisions that were added to the legislation that shouldn’t have been," Obama wrote in a letter to Congressional leaders. "That’s why my proposal does not include the Medicare Advantage provision, mentioned by Senator McCain at the meeting, which provided transitional extra benefits for Florida and other states. My proposal eliminates those payments, gradually reducing Medicare Advantage payments across the country relative to fee-for-service Medicare in an equitable fashion. My proposal rewards high-quality and high-performing plans."
Nelson's office said today that the senator is studying the proposal and awaiting more detail. "If the plan cuts benefits for Medicare Advantage policyholders, an awful lot seniors on fixed incomes and tight budgets will see higher out-of-pocket medical expenses," spokesman Dan McLaughlin told the St. Petersburg Times. "And that doesn’t seem like health care reform."