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Ways & Means, Energy & Commerce Republicans Demand Answers on Impact to Seniors from Biden Administration Changes to Medicare Advantage

March 21, 2023

WASHINGTON, DC – Seniors who rely on Medicare Advantage (MA) are facing greater uncertainty with potential changes to their health care plans proposed by President Biden’s Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) that are drawing scrutiny from Republicans who are committed to protecting and strengthening Medicare. The MA program includes more than 31 million enrollees that represent roughly half of the Medicare population.

House Ways and Means Committee Chair Jason Smith (MO-08), Energy and Commerce Committee Chair Cathy McMorris Rodgers (WA-05), Ways and Means Health Subcommittee Chair Vern Buchanan (FL-16), Energy and Commerce Health Subcommittee Chair Brett Guthrie (KY-02), joined by Ways and Means and Energy and Commerce Republican colleagues sent a letter today to the Biden Administration’s Health Secretary Xavier Becerra and CMS Administrator, Chiquita Brooks-LaSure, requesting detailed information about the impact the potential changes would have on the cost and coverage for current and future MA enrollees.

Ways and Means Chair Smith: “President Biden has a detailed track record of mismanaging Medicare for our nation’s seniors, from implementing the largest ever increase in Medicare premiums to severely limiting access to novel treatments such as for Alzheimer’s. It is vital that the Biden Administration clarify the changes they are forcing through and the rationale behind them. The 31 million seniors who rely on Medicare Advantage need assurance that their cost, coverage, and access to care will not be impacted.”

Energy and Commerce Committee Chair Rodgers: “Before making any significant unilateral changes to Medicare, the Biden Administration needs to have an unambiguous understanding of any potential effect on seniors’ benefits and premiums. That said, excess payments that were not authorized or intended by Congress are a misuse of taxpayer dollars that weaken the Medicare program. Congress should seek to address both problems broadly across Medicare and the federal budget. If the administration has done its due diligence, it should have no issues responding promptly to our reasonable questions.”

Ways and Means Health Subcommittee Chair Buchanan: “Medicare Advantage is an enormously successful program and model of a public-private partnership that offers greater choice, increased competition and lower costs. The Biden Administration’s proposed changes to Medicare are a direct attack on the 55 percent of Florida seniors enrolled in Medicare Advantage, and could affect their ability to receive access to timely, quality health care. At a time when inflation is eating away at seniors’ budgets, many of whom live on fixed incomes, the last thing they need are higher out-of-pocket costs and major cuts in services.”

Energy and Commerce Health Subcommittee Chair Brett Guthrie: “This is about ensuring the more than 31 million seniors, who use Medicare Advantage, and Congress understand the real impact the Biden Administration’s proposed changes will have on the availability of MA services across the country.  The Biden Administration’s history with Medicare gives reason for skepticism and a call for more transparency on the decision-making behind the Biden Administration’s proposed changes.”

Ways and Means and Energy and Commerce Republicans requested the Biden Administration reply with specific answers to their questions by no later than March 31, 2023.

Read the letter here.