WASHINGTON — Five years into Medicare spending cuts that were supposed to devastate private Medicare options for older Americans, Medicare Advantage signups in private insurance plans through Medicare has shot up by more than 50 percent, confounding experts and partisans alike and providing possible lessons for the Affordable Care Act’s insurance exchanges.
When Congress passed President Obama’s signature health law nearly six years ago, it helped offset the cost by cutting payments to Medicare Advantage plans, offered by private insurers operating under contract with the government. Insurers and Republicans said the cuts — about $150 billion over 10 years — would “gut” the program, a major theme in the 2010 and 2012 elections. The Congressional Budget Office predicted that enrollment would fall about 30 percent. [Read more…]