Congressman Vern Buchanan

Representing the 16th District of Florida

Buchanan to Obama Administration: Hands Off Medicare Advantage

Mar 10, 2015
Press Release

54,000 Seniors in FL-16 Enrolled in Vital Program 

 WASHINGTON – U.S. Rep. Vern Buchanan (R-FL), a senior member of the House Ways and Means Committee, urged the Obama administration to withdraw a proposed cut in the federal government’s reimbursement rate for Medicare Advantage. In a letter to Acting Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) Administrator Andy Slavitt, Buchanan warned that 54,000 of his constituents could be at risk of losing their coverage or face higher out-of-pocket costs under the cuts.

Buchanan sent a letter to CMS last year urging them to abandon a similar plan to cut Medicare Advantage. CMS subsequently withdrew the plan.

The text of the letter is below.

March 6, 2015

Andy Slavitt

Acting Administrator

Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services

Department of Health and Human Services

200 Independence Avenue, S.W., Room 445-G

Washington, D.C. 20201

Dear Acting Administrator Slavitt,

I write to express my strong opposition to a proposed cut in the federal government’s reimbursement rate for Medicare Advantage health plans, which cover 54,000 seniors in my congressional district.

If these cuts were to take effect, up to 16 million Americans across the nation would be in jeopardy of losing their coverage or facing higher out-of-pocket costs. Many of these senior citizens are now living on fixed incomes and cannot bear the added financial burden of higher health care expenses.

Medicare Advantage beneficiaries have already seen cuts of approximately 10 percent over the past two years.  To make matters worse, another round of cuts to the program from the President’s health care law is slated to go into effect this year.  I am concerned that insurance companies would stop offering certain plans as a result of these new, additional cuts that you have proposed. 

Medicare Advantage plans have a proven track record of improving health outcomes, reducing costs, and offering much needed personal choice to seniors.  On behalf of the seniors in my congressional district enrolled in Medicare Advantage, I urge CMS to reverse this dangerous proposal before millions are adversely affected. 

In February of last year, I wrote to your agency expressing serious concerns about the Administration’s proposed Medicare Advantage cuts for 2015.  I was encouraged when CMS withdrew the plan. I urge you to do the same on behalf of 16 million seniors. 

Sincerely,

/s/

Vern Buchanan

Member of Congress