Editorial Discusses Issues Related To Medicare Advantage Plans

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Medicare Advantage Plans

An editorial and an opinionpiece published recently address issues related to private Medicare Advantageplans and Medicare physician reimbursements. Summaries appear below.

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  • Des Moines Register: "There is a long list of reasons why" MA plans are "bad for seniors, taxpayers and the Medicare program itself," according to a Register editorial. According to the editorial, Medicare beneficiaries enrolled in MA plans "might not be able to get treatment at a local hospital or clinic," and the plans "cost taxpayers a bundle." The editorial adds, "Perhaps the worst thing about private plans is they siphon people into the private sector," which is a "step toward dismantling a public health insurance program that has worked well for more than 40 years." In response, "Congress should eliminate subsidies to private insurers" because MA plans "confuse consumers, increase administrative costs and waste tax dollars," the editorial states, adding, "It makes us wonder who -- except for the insurers receiving government subsidies -- receives any advantage from these plans" (Des Moines Register, 11/21).

  • Ronald Davis and William Novelli, South Florida Sun-Sentinel: The "future for Medicare patients' access to care is bleak unless we take concrete steps" to reverse a scheduled reduction in physician reimbursements, Davis, president of the American Medical Association, and Novelli, CEO of AARP, write in a Sun-Sentinel opinion piece. According to the authors, Congress should pass legislation to equalize reimbursements between MA plans and traditional Medicare because the savings that would result would "make it possible ... to stop cuts to doctors who care for Medicare patients and to add important new benefits like more preventive care and help for low-income Medicare patients -- all without raising Medicare premiums even higher." Congress "has a choice: Keep its long-term commitment to keep Medicare strong for Americans -- or keep over-subsidizing big insurance," the authors write, adding, "Seems like an easy choice to us" (Davis/Novelli, South Florida Sun-Sentinel, 11/20).

Reprintedwith permission from kaisernetwork.org. You can view the entire Kaiser Daily Health Policy Report, search the archives, and sign upfor email delivery at kaisernetwork.org/email . The Kaiser Daily Health PolicyReport is published for kaisernetwork.org, a free service of The Henry J.Kaiser Family Foundation.

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