Camp, Hatch Allege Misuse Of Medicare Advantage Bonus Payments
The GOP lawmakers allege that the administration's use of certain bonus payments that are available through a demonstration program are for political gain.
The Hill: GOP Accuses Administration Of Misusing Medicare Demo For Political Gain
The Obama administration has misused its regulatory authority to prevent planned cuts to seniors' health plans from taking effect one month before the 2012 election, Republican lawmakers alleged Thursday. The lawmakers take issue with the Department of Health and Human Services' recent decision to spend $8.3 billion on a nationwide Medicare Advantage payment reform demonstration. The demonstration will increase payments to MA plans by 0.4 percent, they argue, helping offset the health care reform law's $200 billion in cuts to the plans that cover 25 percent of seniors on Medicare. A Medicare agency official denied the charge, and said the payment reform demonstration program was authorized under the health care reform law. The pilot demonstration, the official said, aims to incentivize all Medicare Advantage plans to improve quality outcomes. The allegation was made in a letter to HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius from Ways and Means Committee Chairman Dave Camp (R-Mich.) and Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), the top Republican on the Senate Finance Committee (Pecquet, 4/14).
CQ HealthBeat: Hatch and Camp Protest Medicare Advantage Bonus Payments
The top Republicans on two major Senate and House committees overseeing Medicare complained Thursday that the Department of Health and Human Services is bypassing Congress by giving private Medicare Advantage plans extra money through a bonus program. The health care law called for a 3.5 percent reduction in payments to the Medicare Advantage health plans run by private insurers. But HHS officials have announced that they would be giving performance bonuses to some plans through a demonstration program. ... Senate Finance Committee top Republican Orrin G. Hatch of Utah and House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Dave Camp of Michigan said that they support the use of private plans in Medicare. But they don't like the fact that the administration is not asking the blessing of lawmakers in handing out the bonuses (Adams, 4/14).