Buying Off Seniors to Win an Election

In the 19th Century, it wasn’t unheard of for politicians to pay constituents for votes with cash payments, livestock and even whiskey. Although election-day gifts of pigs, chickens and whiskey have long since gone by the wayside, modern day political parties have other ways of buying votes — at least that’s what Republican Rep. Darrell Issa, is alleging. Issa, the chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, is accusing the Department of Health and Human Services of using an $8 billion program that pays bonuses to Medicare Advantage plans to “buy” the election.

His office wants to investigate whether they bonus payments are designed to temporarily hide the detrimental effects of the Affordable Care Act from seniors until after the election. The ACA, the federal health care law signed into law by President Obama, is slated to cut about $716 billion from the Medicare program over the next decade. Of this, $156 billion is due to be cut from Medicare Advantage plans. Issa has threatened to subpoena the documents on the Medicare Advantage bonus program if the Department of Health and Human Services does not willingly turn them over.

More about this issue from Fox News.

Comments (9)

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  1. Studebaker says:

    It is undoubtedly the case that these payments were intended to alleviate the pain and suffering of cuts to Medicare Advantage plans and their enrollees. Yet, it is an ethical dilemma about whether it’s acceptable for a department of the Administration to spend money postponing the inevitable pain if the primary reason to postpone the detrimental effects is to remove benefit cuts as an election year issue.

  2. Alex says:

    Once again Congress is late to the party. We’ve known about this for a while, but better late than never I suppose.

  3. Bob says:

    Thats just a sad sight to see.

  4. Jimmy says:

    Interesting theory…

  5. Baker says:

    In colonial times it was called “swilling the planters with bumbo.” George Washington won a seat in the Virginia House of Representatives with about 1/2 gallon of rum per vote. (

  6. Edward says:

    Well, you gotta do what you gotta do to win, right?

    Sounds like American politics to me.

  7. Robert says:

    Oh that’s too bad.

  8. Brian Williams. says:

    Rep. Issa is a rock star.

  9. Jordan says:

    A half gallon per vote?! I wonder what ACORN paid..