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Greg Walden: Medicare Advantage Cuts Will Hurt Oregon Seniors

Location: Washington, DC

Rep. Greg Walden (R-Ore.) spoke on the House floor about the impact the government takeover of health care will have on the more than 38,000 seniors in Oregon's Second District that have chosen Medicare Advantage as the best plan that suits their needs.

According to an independent government actuarial analysis released by the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Studies (CMS) last week, half of all seniors who have Medicare Advantage will lose their coverage under the new law.

Oregon has the highest penetration rate of Medicare Advantage in the country. Ten counties in Oregon have Medicare Advantage penetration rates of 45 percent or higher and, of those, six counties are above 50 percent. That means, in those counties, more seniors are in a Medicare Advantage plan than are not.

In their new analysis of the healthcare legislation, CMS concluded: "We estimate that in 2017, when the MA provisions will be fully phased in, enrollment in MA plans will be lower by about 50 percent (from its projected level of 14.8 million under the prior law to 7.4 million under the new law)."

"That's a big problem for seniors in Oregon," Walden said today. "We now know under this independent evaluation that half of the seniors in Oregon that have chosen Medicare Advantage will lose their plans."

A full transcript of Rep. Walden's remarks on the floor are below:

"The Speaker of the House told the National Association of Counties a while back that, "Congress needed to pass the health care bill so we could find out what's in it.' Well we are finding out now.

"The chief actuary for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services is the independent score keeper of legislation like this. Their report that they just issued said half of all seniors in America who are on Medicare advantage plans -- half --are going to lose that coverage under the bill that was signed into law.

"Well that is a big problem for seniors in Oregon. Oregon has had one of the highest penetration rates in the United States of seniors who wanted Medicare advantage and signed up for it.

"I was out in Ontario, Oregon not long ago and the seniors there raised their hands and said, "Why are the taking away that Medicare advantage I have?'

"We now know, under this independent evaluation, half of them will lose that care. Thirty-eight thousand seniors in my district alone (are enrolled in Medicare Advantage). We need to repeal and replace this law that was jammed through this Congress."

Representative Greg Walden is the House Republican Leadership Chairman and represents Oregon's Second Congressional District, which is comprised of 20 counties in eastern, southern, and central Oregon.

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