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Greg Stites, Bismarck, Published August 13 2012

Berg not truthful about Medicare

Rep. Rick Berg, R-N.D., gets his mother to say that the Affordable Care Act cuts benefits to regular Medicare beneficiaries in the amount of $500 billion. This is untrue. Berg’s mother says she depends upon the Medicare program and that stopping those cuts in order to help her is why Berg is running for the Senate. She says that Heidi Heitkamp supports these cuts, and therefore Heitkamp must be stopped and the Affordable Care Act must be repealed. This falsehood appears in another of Berg’s advertisements that shows a group of Medicare-age-looking women actors complaining in a similar fashion.

But unlike Berg, Sandy Praeger, the elected Republican Kansas state insurance commissioner, speaks “truth” about the Affordable Care Act and its positive effect on Medicare in her just-published “Commissioner’s Corner” for August 2012:

Question: Will Medicare change?

Answer: The law does not cut benefits to regular Medicare beneficiaries. It is supposed to save $500 billion over the next 10 years. The savings is to come from (1) reducing federal payments to insurance companies that offer Medicare Advantage plans (which are private Medicare plans that offer regular Medicare benefits plus other company benefits); (2) reduced increases in provider payments; and (3) actions to reduce waste, fraud and abuse. Also, more preventive services are now covered, and the “doughnut hole” for prescription drug coverage gets smaller each year until it closes completely by 2020.

For all of Commissioner Praeger’s honest answers to questions about the Affordable Care Act, see tinyurl.com/8tmh2p2.

For any truth coming from Berg, look elsewhere.