Hector Barreto

Words matter.

“If you like your doctor, you will be able to keep your doctor, period. If you like your healthcare plan, you'll be able to keep your healthcare plan, period,” President Obama said during a speech to the American Medical Association in June 2009.

Honoring your commitments is the cornerstone of trust in our leaders. The American people won’t accept illusions or misdirection’s. That’s why its troubling that because of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) or Obamacare, Medicare will be cut by $1.05 trillion, 6.3 million Americans have lost their healthcare coverage since its implementation and millions more stand to lose Medicare Advantage plans they have grown to rely on.

The future of Medicare is a huge concern for America’s seniors — and rightly so.

Washington and ACA have made deep cuts to the program to the tune of $1.05 trillion over the first 10 years. The largest of these cuts came from reducing Medicare Advantage payments to hospitals and other healthcare providers who give our seniors medical care. Worst of all, these cuts do nothing to prevent Medicare from going bankrupt in the estimated next 12 years. This means our grandparents and parents are experiencing cuts now, and our children cannot count on a program they are already paying into.

Over the years, Medicare Advantage has been the pioneer of quality, value and effective healthcare coordination. It includes 14 million seniors that will be affected across the board, and most heavily in states such as Minnesota, Oregon, Arizona, New York, Florida, Ohio, Texas, California and Nevada.

The Affordable Care Act gutting of Medicare Advantage will reduce America’s families and seniors options and variety of plan choices, decrease access to care, cause less access to physicians, as well as an increase in out of pocket expenses for important services, such as disease management for people with chronic conditions, coordination of care, transportation, pharmacy benefits and on-call nurses available by phone.

The Congressional Budget Office reports that the ACA significantly reduces payments to Medicare Advantage by an estimated $156 billion from 2013 to 2022.This means enrollees would have to register in less generous programs and face increased out-of-pocket costs, while on an average fixed income of about $1,230 a month. The math just doesn’t add up, resulting in seniors having to choose between paying the electric bill or their prescription drugs.

Hector Barreto

Hector Barreto is the Chairman of The Latino Coalition and the former US Small Business Administrator.