- The Washington Times - Monday, May 12, 2014

Top House Republicans on Monday signaled they haven’t forgotten their push to protect an insurer-run alternative to traditional Medicare, an election-year drumbeat that shows no signs of waning even though the Obama administration in April said it would boost — not cut — payment rates under the program for seniors.

In new correspondence, Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton, Michigan Republican, and five senior committee members argue that Obamacare’s cuts to Medicare Advantage and year-over-year reductions have resulted in a net reduction to plan payments.

This will cause a trickle-down effect that increases premium costs and reduces provider options for seniors, they contend.

“Overall, we are concerned that the cuts to Medicare Advantage plans will result in higher costs and fewer choices for millions of seniors who currently enjoy high-quality, affordable plans, and the possibility that some will lose their current plan altogether,” they wrote to Marilyn Tavenner, administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. “Seniors should not have to worry about whether or not their Medicare Advantage plan will be there for them.”

The administration says Medicare Advantage is on sure footing and that premiums are actually going down.

Congressional Democrats also have hit back at GOP critics who say Obamacare harmed the program. Instead, they said, the cuts were a fiscally responsible way to keep spending in check and keep the entire Medicare system financially viable.

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