In Letter to CMS, Leaders Express Concern that PPACA’s Cuts to Medicare Advantage Will Disproportionally Hurt Most Vulnerable Seniors
WASHINGTON, DC –Continuing thier efforts to protect seniors, House Energy and Commerce Committee leaders today sent a letter to Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services Administrator Marilyn Tavenner expressing concerns about the health care law’s negative effects on Medicare Advantage. The committee also released an analysis of Medicare enrollment data conducted by the nonpartisan Congressional Research Service which found that Medicare Advantage enrollees are disproportionately minority or lower income seniors. Read the complete memo prepared for the committee online here.
In the letter to Administrator Tavenner, the committee leaders write, “We are concerned that the cuts to Medicare Advantage Plans will result in higher costs and fewer choices for millions of seniors who currently enjoy high-quality, affordable plans, and the possibility that some will lose their current plan altogether. … Unfortunately, because the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) cut more than $300 billion from the Medicare Advantage program and spent the money on new programs outside of Medicare, seniors’ access to their Medicare Advantage plans is under threat.”
The leaders continue, “Undoubtedly, PPACA’s cuts to Medicare Advantage plans will directly affect plan offerings, choice of providers, and patient care… At the House Energy and Commerce Committee, we have head from numerous physicians who are worried that the continued cuts to Medicare Advantage plans will negatively impact some of the most disadvantaged enrollees with multiple diseases or conditions… Currently only about 20 percent of PPACA’s more than $300 billion cuts to Medicare Advantage have been phased-in. The Medicare Trustees confirm that many seniors will lose their Medicare Advantage plan over the long-term.”
The committee is seeking CMS’s responses to important questions regarding the full impact of these cuts, what plan the administration has to protect seniors’ care, and what programs the cuts are being spent on rather than on Medicare Advantage.
The letter was signed by full committee Chairman Fred Upton (R-MI), Health Subcommittee Chairman Joe Pitts (R-PA), Chairman Emeritus Joe Barton (R-TX), Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee Chairman Tim Murphy (R-PA), full committee Vice Chairman Marsha Blackburn (R-TN), and Vice Chairman of the Health and Oversight and Investigations Subcommittees Michael C. Burgess, M.D. (R-TX).
Read the complete letter online here.