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Scott, Jindal and Perry pen letter to Obama on Medicare Advantage 'cuts'

@MarcACaputo

The Obama Administration's announced last week that it was reversing Medicare Advantage cuts used to help fund Obamacare, but three Republican governors say the privately run alternative to traditional Medicare is still getting dinged.

Is it true?

We've asked the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and gotten no response. Until then, we've put "cuts" in quotes.

Democrat Charlie Crist has weighed in with a statement trashing one of the signatories, Republican Gov. Rick Scott: "Rick Scott writing a letter asking the President to take action on Medicare Advantage after he already took action on Medicare Advantage is like him declaring that the Gators will win the National Championship in basketball. As much as I wanted it to be the truth, it's not."

"It would be nice if he focused on governing here in Florida and not spending all day, every day taking discredited pot shots at President Obama."

Here's the April 15 letter:

On Monday, April 7, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) announced changes to next year’s premium payments in theMedicare Advantage program, claiming they will increase payments. Unfortunately, your Administration’s announcement amounts to little more than political theater. The fact is, Medicare Advantage has been repeatedly cut during your Administration, and several new reports show Medicare Advantage rates will drop as much as 3.5 percent next year despite CMS’ announcement. This is on top of a 6 percent cut to fiscal year 2014 payments. Collectively, these cuts will significantly harm America’s seniors.

 As Governors in states home to many Medicare Advantage enrollees, we urge you to work with Congress and with CMS to take real, meaningful steps to strengthen a program that has been proven to be successful in serving American seniors.

 Nearly 16 million seniors are enrolled in Medicare Advantage plans, accounting for almost 30 percent of total Medicare enrollees. Last year, enrollment increased by 8.9 percent, and almost half of all newly eligible seniors selected an Advantage plan in 2012. Seniors like their plans, with nine out of ten seniors reported being satisfied with their quality of care and choice of doctors. Furthermore, Medicare Advantage has proven as effective as traditional Medicare in reducing hospital readmissions, improving care coordination and overall health outcomes.

 Despite your Administration’s assertion that recent action will result in a net increase in rates from 2014 to 2015, reports from Morgan Stanley, Bank of America - Merrill Lynch, Humana and Citi all conclude that Medicare Advantage rates will drop by at least 3 percent. Additionally, the Citi report points out that CMS ignored major factors when calculating its projections, including Obamacare’s health insurance industry fee.

 These collective cuts to Medicare Advantage are a direct result of Obamacare and action by your Administration. They will limit the ability of Medicare Advantage to offer seniors and individuals with disabilities additional choices for high quality and coordinated care in their communities. For many seniors, their primary care doctors and specialists already have been terminated from their Medicare Advantage plans – all of this despite your broken promise that Americans can keep their plans and their doctors.

 In addition, the peace of mind that comes with having their Medicare Advantage plan is what seniors rely on in their most desperate hour, and to take that away from them is just unacceptable.

 Once again, we urge you to work with Congress and CMS to protect 16 million senior citizens who rely on their plans. And we urge you to do it now.

 Sincerely,

 Governor Rick Perry

Texas

 Governor Bobby Jindal

Louisiana

 Governor Rick Scott

Florida

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