The government has invited the public to comment on ways to improve Medicare Advantage (MA). The best the government can do is to STOP THE STEAL by immediately eliminating Medicare Advantage and its poisonous siblings Direct Contracting Entities/ACO REACH. You have until August 31st to comment. Here is the leading edge argle-bargle that the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) is putting out:
Through this Request for Information (RFI), the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) is seeking feedback on ways to strengthen Medicare Advantage (MA) in ways that align with the Vision for Medicare and the CMS Strategic Pillars ( https://www.cms.gov/cms-strategic-plan). An additional goal of this RFI is to create more opportunities for stakeholders to engage with CMS, in line with the agency's Strategic Pillars that prioritize increased engagement with our partners and the communities we serve throughout the policy development and implementation process.
You can read the entire RFI here, at the site of the Federal Register. You will find the page for providing comments here. (Click on the blue COMMENT button at the upper right of the page) Now, I am not discounting the possibility that there could be people with Medicare Advantage who are satisfied customers, but let's explore the MA program a bit, because the overall effect of its existence is to transfer of billions of dollars from the coffers of Medicare to private insurers with little or no concomitant advantage to the so-called “beneficiaries.”
In spite of what Joe Namath may say on his MA commercials, Medicare Advantage is a contrived effort on the part of Congress and the Executive Branch to privatize your Medicare. Physicians for a National Health Program have dozens of articles on these privatization efforts. Here is a list of some of those articles to give you a taste of the extent of the problem. (All 42 of the articles can be found here)
The Disadvantages of Medicare Advantage (Read this if you have no time to read the other references)
A two-part article in Health Affairs, entitled Medicare Advantage, Direct Contracting, And The Medicare ‘Money Machine (PART I and PART 2) lays out this legalized robbery that is taking place right under the noses of all Americans. This has consequences for EVERYONE under Medicare as (let me say it once again) it diverts money that might otherwise be used for health care into the coffers of monied interests. This is the model…
“Supporters of MA (Medicare Advantage) point to the program’s growth as evidence that the privatized model works. The reality is that MA grows because the structural and risk-score gaming overpayments subsidize MA plans to offer some improved benefits, lower Part D costs, an average $5,000 out-of-pocket cap, and underutilized supplemental benefits. Low-income beneficiaries remain underinsured and subject to significant copayments and deductibles. As plans code more, risk scores go up, CMS provides more subsidies, benefits and premiums get better, and buyers choose the improved plans that cost taxpayers more. This is one distorted dynamic in the MA marketplace: the costlier the plan is to the payer (CMS), the easier it is to sell it to the customer, and the greater the profit.”
This is almost as exquisite as Catch 22 from Joseph Heller's book by the same name, but in the case of MA it is your money that is at play and those paying into and using Medicare lose eventually, no matter what, because privatization eats away at the Medicare fund. It is widely known that the overhead for Medicare, (what it costs to run the program,) is about 1%. The privateers, once let loose on the Medicare funds, run operating cost percentages into double digits.
So it is not a question of how to improve Medicare Advantage, it is a question of completely eliminating MA in order to preserve Medicare for the future. I have provided above many opportunities to read about these privatization efforts. Let CMS know that you are on to the scam by making your comments today!