A few days ago, I was in my ophthalmologist's office. As I was waiting to be called into his exam room, a man checking in at the counter merrily exclaimed that he had new insurance. “I just signed up for Medicare Advantage!” He was pleased as punch. My heart sank. My happy thought now is that he will read this article.
Physicians for a National Health Plan (PNHP) is calling for your assistance. NOW is the time to comment on rules cracking down on the massive misdeeds of Medicare Advantage insurers. The antics of these Advantage insurers suck hundreds of millions of dollars from the Medicare Trust Fund by overcharging for treatment and bloating the costly management structure of your Medicare service. Comments to the Center for Medicare Services (CMS) are due by Monday, March 6th. Please go to regulations.gov and enter docket number CMS-2023-0010 in the search box. From there, follow instructions to comment.
Bear this in mind as you comment. From the site of Protect Medicare:
"The so-called “Medicare Advantage” program allows …famously wasteful companies to administer health benefits for seniors and people with disabilities. It is likely that over half of Medicare beneficiaries will be under a Medicare Advantage plan in 2023.”
By nearly any measure, Traditional Medicare is a better deal for patients, doctors, and taxpayers. Beneficiaries may pay lower premiums up-front [with Medicare Advantage plans] but they can be burdened later on with high cost-sharing, narrow provider networks, and outright denials of care—burdens that they would not have to bear if they had enrolled in Traditional Medicare."
PNHP has provided its own comments to the Center for Medicare Services. You can use it as a guide along with other references that are provided at the bottom of this article.
The basic message to the government is:
- Medicare Advantage (Medicare Part C) is inherently not reparable, as it is based on a for-profit system that distorts and impedes proper medical care.
- By eliminating the costly Medicare Advantage program, there can be movement to a single payer system, eliminating the profit motive.
- All other Medicare direct contracting such as ACO Reach must be eliminated because they drain the coffers of Medicare by excessive overhead costs and refusal of services.
More information can be found at the website of the PNHP or at its spin off/sister organization, Protect Medicare. The site of PSARA (Puget Sound Advocates for Retirement Action) has newsletters online that contain good information on the Medicare Advantage legalized theft program. Previous articles on NWCitizen (found at LINKS below) will provide additional background.
Of overall importance is that you comment, “early and often,” as the old saw goes. In this case, you can comment multiple times, especially if some new idea comes to mind. Pass these links to friends and family who are on Medicare to warn them of the pitfalls of Medicare (Dis)-Advantage.
Last day for comments is March 6th. Please take 10 minutes to invest in the future of your Medicare.
Comments by Readers
James LouckyMar 03, 2023
I am appalled at the subterfuge associated with efforts to push Medicare Advantage policies. The costs and privatization are enough to cause outrage, but also potentially to condemn unsuspecting people - especially elderly - to further financial distress.
Instead of wasteful for-profit approaches - which are commoditized, corporatized and bureaucratic - the United States needs to join other countries in offering Medicare for all as a BASIC HUMAN RIGHT.
David MacLeodMar 03, 2023
Thank you Dick for keeping us informed on this topic, and alerting us to opportunities for action.
M. Lynda HanscomeMar 06, 2023