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Obama eliminates "Gator-aid"

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On the heels of his televised health care summit, President Obama has signaled to congressional leaders that he will consider adopting a number of GOP provisions, including removing a special deal for Florida seniors arranged by the senator from that state, Bill Nelson.

In a letter sent to congressional leaders, Obama wrote, “No matter how we move forward, there are at least four policy priorities identified by Republican Members at the meeting that I am exploring.”

The president agreed to eliminate what critics have called “Gator-aid,” a provision to shield Florida seniors from cuts to the Medicare Advantage program. The president said “my proposal does not include the Medicare Advantage provision…which provided transitional extra benefits for Florida and other states.”

Among other ideas he is considering is one proposed by Senator Tom Coburn, a practicing ob-gyn in Oklahoma, that medical professionals work undercover for the government to root out abuses in Medicare, Medicaid and other federal programs.

To Senator Chuck Grassley’s concern that Medicaid reimbursements are too low in many states, which has led to a dearth of physicians willing to treat such patients, the president countered that he would be willing to consider raising physician reimbursements in a “fiscally responsible manner.”


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