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Democrats Recommend More To Medicare Advantage Changes

Armen Hareyan's picture
Bacusu on Medicare Advantage Changes

House Democrats and Senate Finance Committee Chair Max Baucus (D-Mont.) on yesterday announced that they have sent letters to Medicare officials praising proposed payment and regulatory changes to the Medicare Advantage program and recommending additional changes, CQ HealthBeat reports.

Baucus and some House Democrats commended a recent CMS proposal to adjust the scale used to determine the reimbursement rate for MA plans by assigning "risk scores" related to how sick a beneficiary is. According to CQ HealthBeat, the changes -- which have garnered the support of the Medicare Payment Advisory Commission -- would reduce payments to MA plans.

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In a separate letter, some House Democrats supported CMS for its changes to its "call letter" to private health and prescription drug plans regarding bidding requirements for 2010. According to Democrats, the changes would stop discrimination against sicker beneficiaries, make it easier to understand prescription drug benefits and shield beneficiaries from unfair marketing practices (Reichard, CQ HealthBeat, 3/9).

RTTNews reports more on Baucuse's position on Medicare Advantage changes.

""During these tough financial times, we need to make sure that we are not wasting taxpayer dollars by allowing the Medicare Advantage system to run inefficiently," Baucus said in the letter. "Medicare Advantage payments should be more accurate and equitable to traditional Medicare and that is the goal of these important changes. These changes will preserve federal health care dollars, which are vital to maintaining the financial integrity of the Medicare program."

"I strongly encourage CMS to release through the Advance Notice all relevant information concerning proposed MA payment adjustments, such as the coding intensity adjustment for 2010," Baucus added. "Proposed changes should be fully explained and transparent to the public to the same extent that they are for the FFS program through regulation."