AMAC On Capitol Hill

AMAC Attends Medicare Advantage Hearing on Capitol Hill

Capitol-Hill-Domeby Andrew Mangione –

AMAC Vice President for Government Relations Andy Mangione attended the Energy and Commerce Committee’s Health Subcommittee hearing regarding Medicare Advantage this week on Capitol Hill.  The hearing focused on the effect ObamaCare will have on beneficiaries who receive their Medicare benefits through Part C, more commonly known as Medicare Advantage (MA).

The Republicans currently have a majority in the House of Representatives and can therefore call more witnesses to testify.  Democrats, who are in the minority in House, are also allowed to call witnesses.  For this hearing, a total of five witnesses were asked to testify; three by Republicans and two invited by Democrats.

Twenty-nine percent, or 15 million, of Medicare-eligible Americans currently receive their benefit via Medicare Advantage plans. This is a 30% increase in participation since 2010 and is a testament to the program’s growing popularity.  Witnesses cited data that shows that Medicare Advantage participants experienced fewer hospital admissions, readmissions and are generally healthier than those beneficiaries on Original Medicare due to the coordinated care methods and disease management programs that are the hallmark of MA.  Medicare Advantage members spend 20 % less time in hospitals versus Original Medicare beneficiaries.  A majority witness from the advisory firm Boston Consulting shared data that showed Medicare Advantage beneficiaries had lower mortality (death) rates than those utilizing Original Medicare.

However, ObamaCare cuts $308 billion directly from Medicare Advantage, and with many of them slated to start in 2014, tough questions regarding the reality of these reductions were asked by Subcommittee members. Witnesses cited Kaiser Family Foundation statistics forecasting that hundreds of thousands of Medicare Advantage beneficiaries will lose their plans next year.  Testimony also revealed that because of changes to provider networks as a result of ObamaCare, thousands of beneficiaries will not be able to maintain plans that they signed up for as recently as this year.  Testimony from witnesses for the majority dispelled minority testimony which stated that cuts to Medicare Advantage would drive down overall costs for the Medicare Program. Instead they argued that the money cut from MA would go to pay for the Medicaid expansion and health insurance subsidies which are both fundamental apparatuses of ObamaCare.

Minority witnesses tried to persuade Subcommittee members that ObamaCare actually “prolongs the life” of Medicare Advantage, but majority witnesses cited numerous facts that the reality of the law reduces choice, destroys provider networks, drives up costs for beneficiaries and dilutes the MA benefit as a whole.

The hearing was an eye opening experience as to the effect ObamaCare has on seniors and their health.  Our support of the Cassidy-Barrow initiative, (please see the details at www.amac.us) which fights to keep MA fully funded, is one way AMAC fights to expose the consequences of this law and diminish its negative outcomes.

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HAM
6 years ago

Manuel Spinner: At this point in time no one can give you a definite answer but Obama has already said he does not like the Advantage plans. He has already taken $716 billion out of Medicare & given it to Medicaid. We are all in the same boat as you. They just had a hearing in DC last week about the MA plans. That’s why I suggested we all contact our congressmen/women & tell them our opinions. If we are silent we are at their mercy & may be anyway unless we can get some champions on our behalf.

Manuel Spinner
6 years ago

I have been told so falsely of the evils of “Obamacare.” Now I’m told of rhe fate of Medicare. Will someone of authority please ask President Obama directly and to the point if the Affordable Health Care provides for the demise of Medicare Advantage. No evading answers — just to the point. I can’t understand all of the statements today . jUST ASK PRESDENT OBAMA DIRECTLY “DOES YOUR AFFORDABLE HEALTHCARE ACT PROVIDE FOR DISCONTINUING MEDICARE ADVANTAGE NEXT YEAR,OR 2015, 2016, OR ANY FUTURE YEAR?” I am up to my eyeballs in divisive answers,jpolitical animosities. I have been enrolled in Medicare… Read more »

HAM
6 years ago

Everyone needs to contact their Congressmen/women & let them know how you feel. Of course it’s not going to matter unless the Republicans keep control of the House & regain control if the Senate in 2014. They need to be REMINDED we have paid for our Medicare coverage over our working lifetimes and that we do still vote. I read an article about the congressional meetings on Advantage plans and one of the people testified that seniors who have Advantage plans are healthier than seniors with Original Medicare. They said this is because our health is monitored more closely by… Read more »

Araminta Adkins
6 years ago

What is the difference between Medicare Advantage and Medicare?

Jerry
6 years ago

The communist party in the USA rules and Obama care is the instrument of destruction

PaulE
6 years ago

I find the various comments posted on this topic most interesting and very enlightening. Not so much for the fact that Medicare Advantage, along with traditional Medicare is being targeted for deep cuts, but that this seems to come as a utter surprise of so many people. This was, after all, to be fully expected given how Obamacare was written and then passed by Democrats in 2009. Cutting Medicare over $700 billion was one of the gimmicks the Democrats used to “finance” the law. That was four years ago and the nature of all those cuts and new taxes associated… Read more »

Dan Whipple, MD
6 years ago

I am a physician (ophthalmologist) is Avon, Indiana – a suburb 15 miles wet of Indianapolis. I have been in practice for 21 years and have always been a participating provider in Medicare. As such I am obligated to charge my medicare patients the federally mandated fees negotiated by congress in Washington, DC. I cannot charge more or less than this fee schedule and cannot balance bill my patients. In spite of having no control over my fees, I have been dropped by United Health Care advantage from their network. There is nothing my patients nor I can do about… Read more »

Ronald White
6 years ago

We must continue the battle to save MA!! I watched the entire Hearings on Cspan with great interest but came away
Concerned about the future of MA….not 2014 but beyond. The same deceitful tactics are being used….relax everything
Will remain the same or is being improved say the Obama allies. This entire law should be repealed in favor of fixing
Specific problems only…not to replace our medical system with this monster!

James Pait
6 years ago

I have had a AARP MA plan by Unitedhealthcare for two years and have been somewhat satisfied although most of my providers hate it. I was notified recently that my cardiology group was removed from UHC’s providers’s list. They appealed and were denied. I have had two heart attacks and the relationship I have with my Cardiologist is vital. I think the Latin derivative of vital is life. UHC said they would find me another Cardiologist. Thanks but no thanks. I just got a provider list for 2014. It appears that the list has been cut by over 50 %.… Read more »

Wanda
6 years ago

I have paid into social security each time I have worked in a private company job, and my husband paid in social security while in the army thinking I could draw his if something happened to him. When I retired from the government job and tried to apply for his social security I was told if I applied I would have to pay them instead of them paying me. I was to receive a raise on my social security the first of this year, when I got the raise it was all added to pay my medicare and I received… Read more »

Jim Lowden Jr
6 years ago

I am puzzled like Chuck and Cora are about the companies like BCBS Advantage, AARP Medicare Complete, Humana and other companies with Medicare Advantage Plans not saying a word about the forecasted future of Medicare Advantage. Perhaps AMAC’s Legislative Director could enlighten us about this phenomena in the next issue of the AMAC Advantage?? It would sure be helpful to know in advance which way the wind is going to blow. I don’t want to be like the frog who doesn’t realize the fire roaring beneath the pan of water he is sitting in is going to boil him until… Read more »

Judy
6 years ago

I have been with an MA plan for about 8years and very satisfied with it. Have not heard that it might be changed. Now we find out that they are debating about it. What will 2014 bring?

Arlene P
6 years ago

I am impressed with the intelligent commentary posted above. I work as a community hospice RN. I see directly some of the impacts of new health care regulations on my clients. I hope those who have commented here have already contacted their US Congressional representatives. The ACA must be repealed.

Joe McHugh
6 years ago

I’m not sure why there is so much controversy about obama stealing the funding for the Advantage Care program and applying it to his Obama Care program. This fact was known in 2010 and the only reason that I can see for the current uproar is that people weren’t affected by it until now. All of the Advantage Program funding is slated to be withdrawn over a period of years. It’s obvious that obama’s consultants decided that the people presently on the Advantage Program would be eventually forced to buy the Medi-Gap insurance with their own money. Medi-Gap insurance policies… Read more »

Cora
6 years ago

This whole thing is frightening. I believe the Independent Payment Advisory Board is just a way to get rid of us old folks. We will be denied treatment once we are past a certain age, given a bottle of pain killer & sent home to die. What this POTUS is doing to this country is just evil. My husband & I are on an Advantage Plan and we love it. We are changing to another one this year because the first one raised their rates too high. If these things go out of business, I don’t know what we will… Read more »

Bobby W.
6 years ago

More of the non-sense from the” LEFT ” it is hard for me to comprehend the greed and so called good that they want us to believe they are doing for the country.The Democrats have convinced so many people that they are entitled to something for nothing and of course millions believe it.This would be a dream come true for anyone. Stop and think of what it will really do to the future.I too have paid into Medicare since it started. All of the elected officials in Washington need to play by the same rules that are required of the… Read more »

Pat
6 years ago

I have been on a Medicare Advantage program for the last 10 years. It meets all of my needs and ensures my good health. I love managed care because it keeps me healthy. Why does this administration want to get rid of Medicare Advantage?

Chuck
6 years ago

We have all received the solicitations from MA providers over the past couple of months with no mention of any effect from obamacare – just switch plans and sign up now. What is behind that? I would think these providers would be informing their clients what to expect in the near future as well as long term regarding the trashing of the USA’s health care system, and in particular Medicare/MA by the democrat party and their commissars in DC.

Jerry
6 years ago

We have paid into Medicare from every paycheck since its inception. If you are still working take a look at your latest pay stub and you will see just how much you are contributing, This money was to be earmarked to help pay for our health care after we stopped working and no longer had our company health insurance. It seems the government can ignore its own laws and take (steal?) money from one program to fund their latest pet project. They did the same thing with Social Security to add disability benefits and funds for children whose parents died… Read more »

Adora Sala
6 years ago

I belong to Kaiser. I am 82 years old. I have been so worried about this that I am afraid to spend money on anything other than food, etc. I wish I knew what was going to happen to all of us. Have not received any notices or any e-mails. Need to know. How can I find out?

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