Buchanan Slams Medicare Cuts at Congressional Hearing
54,000 Seniors in FL-16 Enrolled in Vital Program
WASHINGTON – U.S. Rep. Vern Buchanan, R-FL, a member of the Health Subcommittee, today urged the Administration to reverse devastating cuts to Medicare Advantage health plans that serve more than 54,000 seniors in Sarasota and Manatee Counties.
Speaking at a Ways & Means Committee hearing on the future of Medicare Advantage, Buchanan warned that future cuts to the program could be harmful to seniors who risk losing their plans, benefits and doctors they trust.
“I’m very concerned about these cuts and the impact it will have on our seniors,” Buchanan said.
The Affordable Care Act cut more than $300 billion from Medicare Advantage to fund new entitlement spending. Eighty percent of these cuts will begin to take effect in 2015 and are scheduled to be phased in over the next 10 years.
Medicare Advantage programs, which cover a third of all Medicare beneficiaries and 1.3 million Florida seniors, are widely praised for offering preventative and disease management services superior to other health plans in the Medicare fee-for-service program. These popular plans offer a competitive choice to seniors as well as saving beneficiaries out-of-pocket expenses.
Karen Ignagni, CEO of America’s Health Insurance Plans (AHIP), warned in February that “payment cuts would be devastating to the more than 15 million seniors and people with disabilities that have chosen to enroll in Medicare Advantage for the better benefits and higher quality coverage these plans provide.”
Earlier this year, Buchanan wrote to Centers for Medicare Services Administrator Marilyn Tavenner urging the Administration to work with Congress to protect Medicare Advantage and honor its commitment to America’s seniors. Buchanan is the only Florida member to serve on the Ways & Means Committee.