The Corner

Health Care

Sorry, NYT: Trump Is Right about Medicare Advantage

A few weeks ago, President Trump tweeted, “Under my Administration, Medicare Advantage premiums next year will be their lowest in the last 13 years. We are providing GREAT healthcare to our Seniors. We cannot let the radical socialists take that away through Medicare for All!”

In the New York Times, Linda Qiu writes that Trump is wrong.

Though Mr. Sanders’s legislation would eliminate Medicare Advantage, current enrollees would receive more benefits under a single-payer system — contrary to Mr. Trump’s suggestion that they would lose their coverage. On average, Medicare Advantage premiums cost $29 a month while Mr. Sanders’s plan eliminates premiums and covers dental, vision and long-term care and hearing aids.

To Qiu’s credit, she quotes Trump’s tweet in full. Anyone who reads it can see that Trump was not claiming that seniors would lose their Medicare Advantage plans and have no coverage; he was saying, entirely accurately, that they would lose their Medicare Advantage plans. He was also stating his opinion that Medicare Advantage plans have been pretty good for their beneficiaries: an opinion with which most of those beneficiaries agree.

Whether Medicare Advantage participants would end up with better coverage if their current plans were no longer allowed as an option, as Qiu suggests, is debatable. They may well find that their access to specialists has been reduced.

Ramesh Ponnuru is a senior editor for National Review, a columnist for Bloomberg Opinion, a visiting fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, and a senior fellow at the National Review Institute.

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