According to a recent news feature from Huffington Post, people seem indifferent about the recent budget deal designed to prevent 11 million beneficiaries from facing 20 percent cuts in their benefits, hire new administrative law judges (ALJs) and make some changes to how the system operates. Had this or some other deal not been reached, the 20 percent benefits reduction would have been imposed across the board starting in late 2016. There would also be an increase in Medicare Part B premiums of over 50 percent had a deal not been reached.
Advocacy groups involved in the process of creating the legislation were essentially strong-armed into supporting it, because failure to support such a deal would result in the needless suffering on millions of Americans for which they purport to speak. One of the things they did not like about the bill was that it ends one program used by nearly half the states to award disability benefits to applicants, in some cases where they did not have independent medical exams. They obviously see this as a loss. Continue reading →