Governor Rick Perryhas joined with Florida Gov. Rick Scott and Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal in a letter to President Barack Obama urging action on predicted cuts in the Medicare Advantage program. In the letter, the Republican governors warn that due to Obamacare, federal payments to the privately-run Medicare Advantage program are projected to drop by at least three percent next year, according to independent industry analysts. This despite recent claims by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services that Medicare Advantage payments will slightly increase. The governors call that claim "little more than political theater," and say it fails to take into account other variables that will result in payment reductions.
Medicare Advantage is an alternative health plan offered by private companies to Medicare recipients. The governors note that its enrollment increased by 8.9 percent last year, and 9 out of 10 enrollees are satisfied with their plan. "Nearly 16 million seniors are enrolled in Medicare Advantage plans, and that includes hundreds of thousands in Texas," says Lucy Nashed, spokeswoman for Gov. Perry. "This is a program that is effective and has improved care for these people who are enrolled in it."
The letter notes that next year's projected rate decline comes on top of a 6 percent cut to this year's payments under Medicare Advantage. "At issue here is how much the payments have been reduced, and how much Medicare Advantage rates have dropped under the Obama Administration," says Nashed. "For many seniors, they've already been impacted because their primary care doctors or their specialists have been terminated from Medicare Advantage plans because of Obamacare, so we're trying to limit any additional impact as much as possible."