If you’re wondering why the Obama campaign, er, administration is spending more than $8 billion, without Congressional consent, to postpone Obamacare’s mandated cuts to the market-oriented Medicare Advantage program until after the election, check out this map.
It turns out that Medicare Advantage is especially popular in several large swing states, such as Florida (32 percent of Medicare beneficiaries in Florida use Advantage), Ohio (34 percent), and Pennsylvania (38 percent). Nationally, 26 percent of all Medicare recipients participate in Medicare Advantage, through which they can choose from various plans run by private insurers, as an alternative to the traditional Medicare fee-for-service program.
In one way, this is good news for Mitt Romney. Retirees who are already on Medicare Advantage are unlikely to be persuaded that privately-run Medicare plans are a font of evil. Indeed, Democratic senator Ron Wyden of Oregon cited his state’s 41 percent participation in Medicare Advantage — and the program’s success there — as a major reason for his support of the Wyden-Ryan plan for Medicare reform.
UPDATE: Several of the commenters point out that Romney could also run ads in these Medicare Advantage-heavy swing states in order to point out the imminent demise of these extra subsidies.
— Avik Roy is a senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute and the author of The Apothecary, the Forbes blog on health-care and entitlement reform. He is a member of Mitt Romney’s Health Care Policy Advisory Group. You can follow him on Twitter at @aviksaroy.