Government Watch

Seniors on Medicare Advantage Are Losing Under Obamacare

from The Daily Caller – by Congressman Bill Johnson (OH-6)

One of the most troubling aspects of President Obama’s takeover of health care is the more than $200 billion in cuts that Obamacare is taking from the Medicare Advantage (MA) program – a program that over 15 million seniors and individuals with disabilities have chosen to enroll in across the United States. As of January 2014, Ohio had over 763,797 enrollees in the MA program and roughly 38,766 of those enrollees reside in Eastern and Southeastern Ohio. This administration must stop these cuts to the MA program from happening if they want to protect the well-being of seniors across the country.

Last year, Medicare Advantage beneficiaries learned of a 6.7 percent rate cut that would hit their health care plans in 2014. These cuts are already being felt by seniors as access to doctors becomes more limited, and out-of-pocket payments increase. I recently experienced firsthand what these cuts mean for those living in Ohio when a number of local physicians had their practices dropped from participation in MA plans, forcing seniors to switch plans or leave their long-term physicians.

Doctors throughout my district have expressed their deep concerns over the serious impact these cuts will have on their practices, and their patients. Seniors in Eastern and Southeastern Ohio are losing access to their doctors and seeing an increase in their premiums. Some patients are being forced to leave their doctors mid-treatment. This is unacceptable, especially when 9 out of 10 beneficiaries believe their MA plan helps them live a healthier life.

Over time, the MA program has grown in popularity – especially among seniors. This can be attributed to the fact that MA plans offer high quality care while also saving beneficiaries money by capping their out-of-pocket expenses, and sometimes even offering free glasses and bandages. For many living on a fixed income, an opportunity to save money and spend it elsewhere goes a long way. Disruption in the MA market could result in a dramatic increase in out-of-pocket costs by as much as $1750 compared to 2013. Additionally, MA plans have a track record for reducing hospitalizations and re-admissions, and reducing the amount of time spent in skilled nursing facilities. By focusing on prevention and disease management, MA plans have proven to contain costs and improve enrollee health outcomes.

With the recent trends of rising healthcare costs and ballooning federal deficits, we cannot afford to harm programs such as Medicare Advantage that have a proven track record of success. Bureaucrats and politicians in Washington can become so fixated on reforming a damaged health care system that they forget what parts of it work – and work well. When 95 percent of MA members rate the quality of care they receive as being “very high,” the last thing the federal government should be doing is indiscriminately cutting more than $200 billion from the program to pay for Obamacare.

And yet, this month, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) is planning to issue a second MA rate cut for 2015, slashing an additional 6.5 percent from these senior plans. In addition to this, seniors enrolled in MA could see between $420 and $900 in benefit reductions next year. Those seniors, who have not yet experienced the disruptions of the first cut, are sure to with the second – MA plans will soon face a total rate cut of 13 percent.

The danger posed to the popularity of the MA program, and its success in improving health care and saving money, speaks volumes about the unintentional consequences of passing a massive, miscalculated 2,000 page health care bill into law. I urge the administration to stop further cuts to Medicare Advantage, and to hold rates flat to protect this important program that so many of our nation’s seniors rely on.

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A Ragsdale
6 years ago

I’ve been voting against this since I was 21. Not real proud of many in Republican party but sure can’t vote Democrat. The majority didn’t see this coming and those who are on the take (hand-out) are glad for what is happening. God help us .. not sure He will help those who don’t help themselves (vote to support our constitution).

RICH
6 years ago

GET REAL FOLKS, THE CHANGES ARE UPON US AND IT’S GOING TO GET WORSE AS A SOCIALIST COUNTRY. UNTIL THE PEOPLE WE HAVE ELECTED HAVE TO LIVE UNDER THE SAME RULES THAT THE PEOPLE HAVE TO; THERE WILL ALWAYS BE LAWS PASSED THAT PLACE THE BURDEN ON THE WORKING CLASS. FREE ENTERPRISE AND SMALL BUSINESS IS BEING SQUEEZED OUT SO THE LARGE BUSINESSES CAN MAKE MORE PROFITS. HEALTH CARE IS THE FIRST STEP IN LARGER GOVERNMENT.

Jim Lee
6 years ago

What all Americans need to keep in mind is that BarryCare (ACA) had nothing to do with healthcare. It had to do with control and wealth redistirbution. Don’t focus on what the right hand is doing, watch what the left hand is doing. It is all in the original bill if people had read it then. All its features are slowly playing out. The young will be clobberred with higher health care costs.. Seniors will be hurt due to slow erosion of MA plans and eventually the elimnation of MA plans. The third wave of BarryCare, because its financially unsustainable,… Read more »

Roy
6 years ago

Obama Care {the affordable care act} is doing exactly what it is designed to do. It will eventually force everyone onto Medicaid and under total government control. REMEMBER president Obama said at his inauguration that we will now transform the United States to a socialist government. Change it from a Republic to a Communist form of government. When he was running for the office of president he plainly laid out his stance, and what he wanted to do to the United States of America bring her down to the level of most third world countries. Destroy the economy, and private… Read more »

John Davidson
6 years ago

When is the American public going to wake up? They voted this idiot into office and now they are paying the price. Everyone is going to be screwed by OBAMA uncare and they aren’t going to enjoy it!

Cate
6 years ago

I had a retirement health care plan that was free. No co-pay for doctor visits and no deductible. It was cancelled. I was given only one option for a new plan, because I retired out-of-state. I now have a $25.00 doctor visit co-pay and a $2000.00 annual deductible. Under my old plan, my pain med cost $10.98 a month. My new co-pay is $36.48. All my other meds have at least tripled. My pension hasn’t changed and I will need to slash my grocery budget. I need a right knee replacement, which I can no longer afford. I was an… Read more »

R L Reid
6 years ago

17th year on MA now through National (AARP). Everything going along just fine until the punk from Chicago comes along and he and his DemocRAT buddies pull the rug out from under us elderly! No cataract surgery for me now! Can’t afford the new copay. But Pajama Boy can stay on momma’s insurance and his girl friend can get free contraceptives. Bite me Harry Reid!

TV Woody
6 years ago

Unfortunately, the people who should be concerned for our welfare really don’t care. The only concern they have is getting reelected and enjoying their free benefits and hefty retirement. We seniors have no advocates in our state capitals or in Washington. The current administration gang have only their power structure to play with and the people that they are supposed to represent are left to suffer while they live like an elitist aristocracy in their ivory tower throwing their small token bravado to the masses just enough to keep them wandering in the fog of their lies. Will we ever… Read more »

Paul Duclos
6 years ago

Vote Republican, and hold your nose!

Paul Duclos
6 years ago

Vote Republican, and hold your nose !

Judy R. Wiser
6 years ago

Unfortunately, there is really NOT a D … thing any of us can do except to go to the polls in November and:
VOTE ‘EM OUT ! ! ! and anyone you can possible bring along with you who would be similarly inclined,
–BRING ‘ EM and take them out to lunch afterward ! ! Hopefully, we will all be celebrating by the end of
this year …………..

Dave
6 years ago

For the last twelve years of my working life I was a Benefits Committee Chairman for my local union. I watched as the company went through buy out and name changes and 2 Bankrupctys with retirees having pension cut by more than 50%, loss of retiree health insurance plans. Once the dust settled a VEBA (Volintary Employe Benefit Association) was formed for Health care. Since then insurace was made available to the members. Since January 1st and the elimination of the Health Care Tax Credit thanks to OBUMACARE members now pay more for thier insurance. My wife went on Medicare… Read more »

Millie
6 years ago

Those doctors in Ohio, whose practices were dropped from participation in the Medicare Advantage plan…..did they happen to
be Republican doctors, I wonder?

donald dickerson
6 years ago

in october i started to notice a red spot on the right side of my face,within a week it swelled, and became very sore. went to the doctor,and the doctor diagnosed it as a sinus infection,and prescribed antibiotics.within a week,the whole right side of my face swelled, and blisters broke out all over ,my right eye swelled closed, went to the doctor ,and she said that i had the worse case of shingles she had ever seen ,over the next days and weeks-months i have experienced more pain than i ever thought i could endure. my doctor said that the… Read more »

Nicole
6 years ago

You work like a horse all your life. You pay into the system the whole time you worked. Finally, you have a chance at retirement, and what do you get…..a slap in the face and a kick in the rear……now tell me, where is the justice in this?

babbs smith
6 years ago

Folks, the purpose for obamacare with EVERYTHING that is in the bill, health related and non-health related, is simple to put all Americans under the control of the government. If they can control our healthcare, what docs we see, medicines, where to see the docs, they will have control over the all the people. Many will not be able to afford private plans, not just seniors, and will be forced on to Medicaid, a one payer system. Complete control. Example: a family of 5 paying under $400/month had to now pay $1200/month. They could not afford that and went to… Read more »

Pe Court
6 years ago

Govt. needs the money to support their ACA [Obama care] plan ,it’s just another way the fed. is transferring wealth to the have not’s . We have hit the slippery slope and the populace is not screaming yet ,or they do not care what happens .until we go over the cliff. Not a very good gift to our grandchildren is it!!!!

Clifford Gill
6 years ago

The one and only way to STOP this insanity, is to get out and VOTE in November. Remember who the one and ONLY party that voted for this abomination (obamanation) and shoved it down our throats is and vote accordingly. Smarten up America and let’s take BACK our country (if it is not too late already!)

Leah LoneBear
6 years ago

What is happening here is going to destroy us. I just recently got on Medicare and got my advantage plan. In the area of pain management which I sorely need due to spine injuries, on the plan I have there is one doctor who is at best difficult to deal with and has some staff who are outright hateful to me. He recently wrote an RX for me which for generic was $215 and one which was $180. When I said I couldn’t afford this I was treated like I am the bad guy. I pay my Medicare premiums and… Read more »

Sandra Lambert
6 years ago

Just more of big government. When they are not affected, they DON’T CARE! You’re old … get out of the way! If they had to live the way we do, they would be screaming bloody murder. I’m talking about Democrats and Republicans alike. I have certainly lived too long.

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