February 17, 2016

Crapo Leading Coalition of 61 Senators Objecting to Additional Cuts to Medicare Advantage

Letter Says Administration shortchanging 70,000 of Idahoâ??s seniors

BOISE - Idaho Senator Mike Crapo, a senior member of the Senate Finance Committee, led a bipartisan group of 61 senators to call on the Administration to refrain from making additional harmful cuts to the successful, market-based Medicare Advantage (MA) program in 2017.  The MA program offers comprehensive, high-quality health care to over 17 million seniors and individuals with disabilitiesnationwide.  As part of the funding mechanism for Obamacare, the MA program faces nearly $200 billion in cuts by 2022. 

"The Administration's repeated attempts to use the MA program as a piggy-bank to offset inefficiencies in Obamacare and traditional Medicare undermines the future stability of the program," said Crapo.  "As we continue to consider comprehensive reforms to our health care system, we should look to the highly successful MA program as a model of coordinated care that aligns payment with patient outcomes, rather than the number of procedures.  Any proposed changes to the MA program should encourage innovation, increase competition and expand beneficiary access to these private Medicare plans."

In Idaho, 1 in 3 Medicare beneficiaries have chosen a private health plan through Medicare Advantage.  Plans offered through Medicare Advantageallow beneficiaries to choose a health plan that best suits their individual budget and health needs.  These plans often offer more flexible services and additional benefits, including vision, dental and prescription drug coverage.

In the letter to the U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, the senators wrote in part, "Annual payment and policy changes create disruption and confusion among beneficiaries, especially in low-income, rural and minority populations.  Any cuts that may be proposed this year would have the potential to stifle innovation and impede beneficiary access to high quality health care."

The full letter can be read here.

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