Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Hatch Motion to Commit on Medicare Advantage

Senator Hatch has offered a motion to commit that would block cuts to Medicare Advantage from taking effect if more than 1,000,000 seniors are projected to lose their health coverage as a result of those cuts.
Arguments In Favor:
  • Medicare Advantage Offers a Better Value for seniors:  The Medicare Advantage program gives seniors the option of receiving their Medicare benefits from a private plan rather than the government’s fee-for-service program. Seniors have increasingly turned to Medicare Advantage plans because these plans offer a better value and a higher quality of care than traditional fee-for-service Medicare.  Medicare Advantage beneficiaries receive on average $93 per month, or more than $1,100 a year, in additional benefits above traditional fee-for-service Medicare.
  • The so-called overpayments to Medicare Advantage plans don’t go to the plans.  They go to seniors in the form of extra benefits.  Seventy-five percent of additional payments to Medicare Advantage plans are used to provide seniors with extra benefits — including chronic care management, hearing aids and eyeglasses.  The other 25 percent of any extra payments is returned the federal government.
  • Six years ago, when Congress enacted the Medicare Modernization Act (MMA), we intentionally provided new funding to stabilize the Medicare health plan program. This was one of the few issues on which there was strong bipartisan agreement during the 2003 Medicare debate.   In fact, in June 2003 several Democrats- including Senators Schumer and Kerry offered a bipartisan amendment on the Senate floor to provide additional funding for benefits under the Medicare Advantage program.
  • President Obama’s campaign promises of “If you like your current plan, you can keep it” will ring hollow to elderly beneficiaries unable to retain their existing Medicare Advantage plan.  This motion would preserve that promise made to America’s seniors.