Following pressure from Rep. Tom Reed and congressional colleagues, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) announced this week its decision to reverse a number of planned cuts to the Medicare Advantage program that would result in fewer benefits, higher out-of-pocket costs, and possible loss of coverage for seniors. More than one million New Yorkers enrolled in a Medicare Advantage plan would have been affected.
"The impact on our seniors would have been devastating -- increasing healthcare costs, reducing benefits and limiting healthcare options for our seniors," Reed said. "Our seniors will already be taking a financial hit with full implementation of Obamacare in 2014. Combined with the adverse effects of the President's healthcare law, these proposals would have issued an additional hit. With so many voices on both sides of the aisle joining to stand up to the White House and fight the proposed cuts to Medicare Advantage, we were able to protect a program vital to so many in our communities."
Working with bipartisan colleagues, Rep. Reed sent multiple letters to the Acting Administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) outlining concerns with the proposed cuts' negative impact on care quality and urged CMS to reconsider cuts that would harm seniors who depend on Medicare Advantage.
"Had the proposed cuts gone through as planned, beneficiaries would have seen a reduction in benefits and an increase in premiums by up to $90 per month," Reed continued. "The cuts were also disproportionately directed at low-income seniors and those with disabilities -- threatening their ability to participate in the program at all. We have a responsibility to look out for our seniors and protecting a program they rely heavily upon is common sense."
The Medicare Advantage program has proven successful and enrollment is on the rise. Since 2010, Medicare Advantage enrollment has increased by 25 percent while premiums have fallen. In New York State alone, 34 percent of Medicare beneficiaries opt into Medicare Advantage.
"The decision to reverse the cuts is good news for seniors but the Administration should not have put our seniors' care in jeopardy in the first place," Reed continued. "This is yet another irresponsible political stunt by the White House."