Progressive Democrats introduced legislation to obstruct Medicare Advantage just as President Joe Biden moved to cut the popular entitlement program.
The Biden administration has proposed ways to cut Medicare Advantage, or Medicare Part C, which is a private-public partnership in which Medicare pays private-sector health insurers a fixed payment.
Meanwhile, progressive Reps. Mark Pocan (D-WI), Ro Khanna (D-CA), and Jan Schwakowsky (D-IL) introduced the Save Medicare Act. The legislation would rename Medicare Advantage plans, bar private insurers from using “Medicare” in plant titles or advertisements, and issue heavy penalties should they break these prohibitions.
Pocan said in a statement that Medicare Advantage undermines traditional Medicare, even though American seniors increasingly choose Medicare Advantage over Medicare:
Only Medicare is Medicare. It is one of the most popular and important services the government provides. These non-Medicare plans run by private insurers undermine traditional Medicare. They often leave patients without the benefits they need while overcharging the federal government for corporate profit. This bill eliminates any confusion about what is – and what is not – Medicare, and ensures this essential program will continue to serve seniors and other Americans for years to come. [Emphasis added]
The three lawmakers even cut a commercial explaining why they prefer traditional Medicare over Medicare Advantage:
Don’t Cut Medicare Advantage, a Medicare Advantage-aligned group, noted in a release that Biden’s proposed cuts to Medicare Advantage would result in “higher premiums, more out-of-pocket costs, benefits elminated, and fewer choices for seniors.” The group noted that it would impact more than 30 million seniors and those with disabilities.
Perhaps ironically for the progressives that want to obstruct Medicare Advantage, the proposed cuts would hurt seniors from low-income, rural, and other underserved communities. Don’t Cut Medicare Advantage also noted that 53 percent of Latino Medicare beneficiaries and 50 percent of black Medicare beneficiaries enroll in Medicare Advantage.
Prominent Republicans such as Republican Study Committee (RSC) Chairman Kevin Hern (R-OK) and Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AR) have pushed back on Biden’s proposed cuts.
The Arkansas Republican wrote, “It’s President Biden who is proposing to cut Medicare Advantage, a program used by almost 4 in 10 Arkansas seniors. This would be a mistake.”
Hern contended that the Democrats’ move to hinder Medicare Advantage may serve as the “first step” to moving all Americans onto Medicare for All.
“Public-private partnerships like Medicare Advantage [MA] provide more choices and better benefits for our seniors; we need to look to the successes of programs like MA and replicate these efforts across other government programs. The private sector has always delivered better results,” Hern explained in an exclusive statement to Breitbart News.
“Biden just cut nearly $5 billion in funding for Medicare Advantage, and this is just his first step. The end goal is to get everyone – not just seniors – onto government-controlled, Medicare-for-All plans,” Hern added.
One Republican staffer said that the White House is engaging in blatant hypocrisy.
Sean Moran is a policy reporter for Breitbart News. Follow him on Twitter @SeanMoran3.
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