TAMPA — Speaking Friday afternoon to seniors at a South Tampa assisted living facility, Gov. Rick Scott sounded like a man running for re-election — and not against likely Democratic gubernatorial candidate Charlie Crist, but against President Barack Obama and the Affordable Care Act.
Scott told the dozen seniors gathered at Horizon Bay at Hyde Park that President Obama was cutting Medicare Advantage plans to pay for the federal health care law. He got the seniors talking about problems they'd had with their plans — higher prescription drug costs and losing doctors from their network plans — and told them it was the fault of Obama's cuts.
"This is wrong," Scott said. "You can't be cutting Medicare Advantage to pay for Obamacare."
Under the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, payments to the privately run Medicare Advantage plans are being reduced so that they are in line with original Medicare, which is run by the government. More is spent, per person, on Advantage beneficiaries than on those in original Medicare, in part to guarantee that the private companies make profits.
Asked later if Medicare Advantage insurers should bear responsibility for their actions, Scott said one should "think about the way health care works."
"As what they get paid changes, they have to, unfortunately, make changes. They're responding to what the president has done, which is cut reimbursements."
The visit repeated the theme of an ad Scott recently released in which he said cuts would be devastating, though numerous health care experts say the cuts haven't been finalized and their impact is far from certain.