House Passes Buchanan Measure Protecting Seniors
Up to 1 Million Seniors Could Benefit
WASHINGTON – The U.S. House on Tuesday passed Congressman Vern Buchanan's legislation to preserve Medicare Advantage plans for thousands of seniors in Sarasota and Manatee Counties and up to 1 million seniors nationwide.
“Medicare Advantage plans have a proven track record of improving health, reducing costs and offering much-needed personal choice to seniors,” Buchanan said. “I’m committed to strengthening and preserving this vitally important program.”
Buchanan’s proposal would prevent the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) from terminating popular, low-cost Medicare Advantage plans. His measure, introduced as the Seniors’ Health Care Plan Protection Act, is part of a broader Medicare bill that passed the House of Representatives last night with broad bipartisan support.
CMS had threatened to terminate Medicare Advantage plans that were unable to meet the complex demands of its rating system. These plans largely serve low-income individuals who are in poor health. Up to 1 million seniors could have their Medicare Advantage plans saved over a three-year period under Buchanan’s legislation.
“The government shouldn’t take away popular health coverage from some of the most vulnerable members of society,” Buchanan said. “Many seniors in my district and throughout the country depend on these inexpensive health plans and the House has taken an important step forward to protect them.” Buchanan's legislation was originally introduced as H.R. 2506.
Buchanan has been a champion of protecting Medicare Advantage plans. Last year, Buchanan's proposal to block CMS from terminating the Medicare Advantage plans passed the U.S. House but did not pass the Senate. Buchanan also wrote Acting CMS Administrator Andy Slavitt in March 2015 to urge him to abandon a CMS plan to significantly reduce reimbursement rates for Medicare Advantage. The effort was successful – CMS did not cut the rates last year.
Buchanan is the only Floridian to serve on the House Ways and Means Committee and its Subcommittee on Health.