Editorial Supports Bill To Reduce Medicare Advantage Plan Payments

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Medicare Advantage Plan

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The "extra spending" on reimbursements to private Medicare Advantageplans compared with payments to traditional Medicare for equivalentbenefits -- "more than $50 billion over the next five years -- makes analready financially unstable Medicare program more expensive," a Washington Posteditorial states, adding, "It also unfairly raises premium costs forall seniors, who subsidize the extra benefits of those who sign up formanaged care plans."

The editorial expresses support for a bill passedby the House earlier this month that would "phase out the excesspayments" to MA plans and "devote the savings" to SCHIP and otherhealth care programs. According to the editorial, critics maintain thatMA plans "lower overall health care spending by providing morepreventive care" and "provide important and otherwise unaffordablebenefits to low-income seniors" and that the legislation would "drivethe plans out of existence."

The editorial states, "We agreethat private plans can play an important and useful role in deliveringgood medical care to seniors," but, "if the problem is providing extrahelp to low-income seniors, there are more efficient means of doing sothan overpaying" MA plans. The editorial concludes, "And we don'tunderstand why the level playing field the private plans once so avidlysought is now not good enough" (Washington Post, 8/21).

Reprinted with permission from kaisernetwork.org. Youcan view the entire Kaiser DailyHealth Policy Report, search the archives, and sign up for email deliveryat kaisernetwork.org/email. The Kaiser Daily Health Policy Report is published for kaisernetwork.org, afree service of The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation.

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