Thursday, March 13, 2014

Walorski introduces bill to examine harmful cuts to the Medicare Advantage program

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congresswoman Jackie Walorski (IN-02) testified today before the House Committee on Energy and Commerce regarding legislation she authored called the Advantage of Medicare Advantage for Minorities and Low-Income Seniors Act of 2014 (H.R. 4211). This legislation would require the Government Accountability Office to study the number of minority and low-income seniors enrolled in Medicare Advantage, and to assess the impacts of cuts to the program resulting from the Affordable Care Act.

“Medicare Advantage is a vital program for low-income and minority seniors. The Affordable Care Act and its regulations have placed a huge burden on the Medicare Advantage program, the results of which will be felt by those seniors we have promised to care for. These cuts to the program have the potential to unfairly affect both low income and minority populations. The legislation I introduced will help Congress determine the specific impact cuts are having on Medicare Advantage and will enable Members to better protect the many seniors who depend on this program,” said Congresswoman Walorski.

Under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA), Medicare programs were cut by over $700 billion, including $300 billion in reductions to the Medicare Advantage program. Medicare Advantage plans offer an out-of-pocket maximum to protect seniors against unpredictable costs.

In Indiana’s Second Congressional District, twenty-seven percent of Hoosiers have chosen to enroll in Medicare Advantage plans compared to twenty-two percent statewide. According to a study by America’s Health Insurance Plans (AHIP), one in five of those enrolled in Medicare advantage plans are minorities, and forty-one percent of enrollees have annual incomes of less than $20,000. Studies show that enrollees in Medicare Advantage plans have lower hospital readmissions, receive higher quality care, and enjoy better health outcomes as compared to similar plans in traditional Fee-for-Service Medicare.

Congresswoman Walorski’s testimony was part of a hearing by the committee to determine how to allow seniors to keep their Medicare Advantage Plans.


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