Events Calendar

Current Weather

Manatee Road Watch

Eat Here - Gulf Coast Cookery Right column ad Bills Discount Center - New & used Furnature, Appliances and More!

The Bradenton Times Polls

Poll Question: Do you think the labrador mix Padi, who bit and injured a child while the dog was allegedly protecting himself, should be euthanized?

 Yes  No More polls »

Sean Tampa Bay yacht Management

Change Text Size: Larger  Smaller

News Section: National Government

Buchanan Speaks Out Against Medicare Advantage Cuts at Congressional Hearing

Critics say plans waste taxpayer money

Published Friday, July 25, 2014 12:07 am

WASHINGTON – U.S. Rep. Vern Buchanan (R-Longboat Key) urged the Obama Administration to reverse cuts to subsidies to Medicare Advantage plans that are part of the Affordable Care Act. The plans, which have been criticized as non-competitive and inefficient, serve more than 54,000 seniors in Sarasota and Manatee Counties.

Speaking at a Ways & Means Committee hearing on the future of Medicare Advantage (click here for video), Buchanan argued that future cuts to the program would be harmful to seniors who could risk losing their plans, benefits and providers who stop participating.

The Affordable Care Act cuts more than $300 billion in subsidies to Medicare Advantage over the next 10 years, many of which will begin to be phased in next year.

Medicare Advantage plans are private plans, created under the Bush Administration, that serve as alternatives to the public program. They offer additional benefits beyond those provided in public Medicare, often at no additional cost to beneficiaries.

While this can be seen as a great deal for beneficiaries, critics have called it a very bad one for taxpayers, who pick up the extra cost, which typically far exceeds the dollar value of the benefit.

Studies have suggested that for each dollar of additional payments that such plans receive, as little as 14 cents is returned to beneficiaries in the form of additional benefits. The Affordable Care Act seeks to cut funding to Advantage plans by way of lower subsidies in order to redirect that funding toward endeavors it claims will offer a better return on public investment.

Medicare Advantage plans have been criticized for failing to promote strong competition for enrollees, as plans receive a formula-based government subsidy. Critics have suggested an approach closer to that of the ACA's health insurance exchanges, which instead of paying a more arbitrary formula, bases all payments on the second lowest bid per plan.

Meanwhile, federal officials are seeking broader powers to recover excessive charges paid out on Advantage plans. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services says its wants to set up “a formal process to recoup overpayments.” A recent Center for Public Integrity investigation found that Medicare paid Advantage plans nearly $70 billion in “improper” payments, just in the years 2008-13.

The overpayments primarily resulted from inflated fees paid to companies who overstated the health risks of their patients. Medicare pays more for higher-risk patients via a formula referred to as their "risk score," mostly entrusting health plan administrators to identify and return any overpayments.

Join the conversation post Facebook comments here or on our site at the bottom of article.


  In Addition to Facebook Comments You Can Also Post Comments Below

Non-Facebook Comments:

Once more, I disagree with my congressman. It is disturbing that he appears so willing to use tax money to reward insurance and other large corporate executives at the expense of those these companies and the congressman serve. What a disservice!!
Posted by Nancy R Dean on July 28, 2014

Click here to add a Non-Facebook comment to this page

 Sign up for our free news subscription - a great way to stay informed!

News World Round UpSports Roundup

Manatee Rural Health Certificate


Name Date
Irene Brothers July 24, 2015
Allene O'Brien June 23, 2015
Dorothy Hill July 28 2015
David Maberry July 24, 2015
Juanita Floyd June 26, 2015
Elizabeth Bennett July 22, 2015
John Lawler July 21, 2015
Marilyn Doxey July 22, 2015
Donald Mills July 23, 2015
All Obituaries

Copyright © 2009 - 2015 | The Bradenton Times | More than just an Online Newspaper |
405 26 Avenue Bradenton, FL 34205
Phone: 941-896-7857 - Privacy Policy - RSS Feed
Template provided by Free CSS Templates