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Newsletter: Proposed Cuts to the Medicare Advantage Program are Bad for Our Seniors


Location: Unknown

Dear Friends,

Congressman Mario Diaz-Balart and I sent a letter to the President on March 20 and another letter with 204 bipartisan House Members on March 11 to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) expressing concern with the latest proposed cuts to the Medicare Advantage program.

More of our seniors are choosing Medicare Advantage plans yet instead of increasing the quality and affordability of healthcare for our most vulnerable, the President's health care law is raising their costs and reducing their benefits.

The President continues to break his promises about his healthcare law -- premiums are going up, you can't keep your doctor, and if you like your plan, you can't keep it.

Already last year we saw CMS cut Medicare Advantage by 4-6%, forcing plans to terminate thousands of doctors, reduce benefits, and increase premiums $360-$820/year.

Now CMS is proposing another round of cuts reportedly anywhere from 6-8%, resulting in possible premium increases of $35-$75/month or $420-$900/year.

Cuts to Medicare Advantage will hit Florida and the 769,000 enrollees in Broward, Collier, Hendry, and Miami-Dade counties, which we represent, especially hard.

52% of the eligible seniors in those four counties have Medicare Advantage plans. In Miami Dade County, 58% of Medicare eligible seniors were enrolled in a Medicare Advantage plan as of February this year.

Medicare Advantage provides our seniors with significant benefits that traditional Medicare does not provide, including coordinated care, disease management programs, and medical advice hotlines.

Unlike traditional fee-for-service Medicare, Medicare Advantage plans offer out-of-pocket maximums to protect seniors against catastrophic events and emergencies and more than 3 in 4 seniors had a plan with a maximum of $5,000 or less in 2013.

Many of our colleagues have proposals to stop these harmful Medicare Advantage cuts and ensure the program's long term viability but the President is not listening.

With more than 38 changes to Obamacare since its enactment, it's not too late to stop the bleeding where we can and reverse these obvious failures.

Unfortunately, while the President has admitted his mistakes and signed 15 changes passed by Congress, too often he has ignored the people suffering from his health care law or decided to go it alone, changing the law 21 times unilaterally.

We urge the President to work with Congress to correct the mistakes that are having real impacts on the most vulnerable in our communities. When 2015 enrollment begins, seniors can choose: less benefits or higher costs.

Seniors deserve the return on the investment made through a lifetime of hard work and it is our responsibility to work together so that this critical safety net continues.

Ileana Ros-Lehtinen
Member of Congress

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