Medicare Advantage Plans Should Accept Level Playing Field

Ruzanna Harutyunyan's picture
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"It is only fair to recoup" higher payments to Medicare Advantage plans because they "are a drain on the Medicare Trust Fund," House Ways and Means Subcommittee on Health Chair Pete Stark (D-Calif.) writes in a letter to the editor in the New York Times. The letter is in response to a Nov. 29 Times editorial about MA plans.

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Stark writes that about "80% of the Medicare beneficiaries ... pay higher premiums to subsidize those who enroll in private Advantage plans," but "private Medicare Advantage plans do not always provide more care than traditional fee-for-service." Stark continues that many MA plans "charge far more than traditional Medicare for important items like hospitalizations, home health care, durable medical equipment and chemotherapy."

According to Stark, "when private plans came to Medicare, they said they could provide better care for less money and happily accepted 95% of the fee-for-service payment rate." He concludes, "All we now ask is that they compete on a 100% level playing field. Isn't that fair competition?" (Stark, New York Times, 12/4).

Reprinted with permission from kaisernetwork.org. You can view the entire Kaiser Daily Health Policy Report, search the archives, and sign up for email delivery at kaisernetwork.org/email . The Kaiser Daily Health Policy Report is published for kaisernetwork.org, a free service of The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. © 2007 Advisory Board Company and Kaiser Family Foundation. All rights reserved.

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