Somebody in Congress finally said it...it's going to the insurance companies...the administrative costs.... The problem with this payment system is we're rewarding inefficient private plans," Hackbarth said....BD
Medicare Payment Advisory Commission Chair Glenn Hackbarth in a Tuesday hearing of the House Ways and Means Health Subcommittee said traditional Medicare is a more efficient way of delivering benefits to beneficiaries than Medicare Advantage plans, CongressDaily reports (Johnson, CongressDaily, 3/12).
Hackbarth "took particular aim" at fee-for-service MA plans, which submit bids to the administration at more than 8% higher than the traditional Medicare rate and in some states receive payments as much as 20% higher than Medicare, CongressDaily reports. Hackbarth said, " When Medicare pays a lot more for private fee-for-service in Texas or in Michigan, a lot of that money is going to higher administrative costs. ... It's going to insurance companies" ( CongressDaily, 3/12).
Rep. Sam Johnson (R-Texas) asked whether Hackbarth thought the government was a better insurer than the private industry. Hackbarth disagreed with Johnson's statement, noting that some MA plans cost less than traditional plans and deliver higher quality care. "The problem with this payment system is we're rewarding inefficient private plans," Hackbarth said ( CongressDaily, 3/12).
Republicans have unveiled a fiscal year 2009 budget plan that includes cuts to Medicare and Medicaid in response to the Democrats' $3 trillion budget proposal ( H. Con. Res. 312 ) that would increase funding for many domestic programs, the AP/Houston Chronicle reports. According to the AP/Chronicle, the "rival budget plans display the difficult trade-offs facing the next president, who must weigh tax cuts that expire at the end of 2010 with popular spending programs like education, highway construction and Medicare."