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In Letter to CMS, Camp, Upton, Hatch Demand Answers on Cuts to Medicare Advantage Program

February 28, 2013

Washington, DC – In a letter sent to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services’ (CMS) Acting Administrator Marilyn Tavenner today, Ways and Means Chairman Dave Camp (R-MI), House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton (R-MI) and Senate Finance Committee Ranking Member Orrin Hatch (R-UT) outlined their concerns with how cuts of more than $300 billion to the Medicare Advantage (MA) program under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) will impact patient care. CMS is set to close its comment period covering the programs’ payment policies for MA plans tomorrow.

In the letter, the members wrote, “While the Obama Administration has expressed its support for the MA program growth in the past and taken credit for increased enrollment during the demonstration period, we are concerned that cuts contained in the President’s health law and administrative policies are undermining that stated goal.”

They went on to highlight five areas of concern for how the Obama Administration has conducted changes to the MA program, including a lack of transparency, restricting access to care with artificially low physician payment assumptions, hurting benefits with risk model recalibration, creating confusion with late Medical Loss Ratio regulations, and limiting patient choice with arbitrary price controls.  The three members requested a response from CMS addressing these specific concerns by March 15. 

The Medicare Advantage program allows seniors to gain access through a private insurance plan to not only traditional Medicare in-patient and out-patient care, but auxiliary benefits like vision care and better overall care coordination.   

A signed copy of the letter can be found here.