Rep. Mike Coffman, R-Colo. (6th CD), issued the following news release:
U.S. Representative Mike Coffman (R-CO) introduced legislation today, Protecting Seniors' Medicare Choices from Obamacare Act of 2014, to help protect the Medicare Advantage program from further cuts by reversing a section in the Affordable Care Act (ACA), better known as Obamacare, that expands Medicaid eligibility to cover prisoners in state and local correctional facilities and, in part, pays for it by reducing the resources available for Medicare Advantage Plans for seniors.
"There are many issues with Obamacare but one of the most troubling is how the expansion of Medicaid which is paid for, in part, by reductions to the Medicare Advantage program that so many seniors enjoy," said Coffman
Medicaid was originally designed to primarily provide healthcare to low-income families, but Obamacare expanded Medicaid to cover low-income adults without children. One collateral impact of that, in states like Colorado that chose the Medicaid expansion, is that correctional facilities run by state and local governments have been able to shift the cost of providing medical care for their inmates over to the Medicaid system and, under Obamacare, the federal government helps offset the cost by taking resources out of the Medicare system with Medicare Advantage being the first casualty.
Medicare Advantage is a choice that seniors can make in selecting a Medicare-approved privately administered health care insurance plans that compete for seniors based on the quality of their provider networks, their ability to limit out-of-pocket expenses, and for any additional services not covered under traditional Medicare. Medicare Advantage plans receive a flat amount for each qualified Medicare enrollee and are allowed to profit from their savings in running an efficient system that keeps their enrolled seniors satisfied with their services.
"Millions of seniors enrolled in Medicare Advantage have worked hard all their lives, raised their families, and paid into the Medicare system. Now, they are counting on their Medicare Advantage plan to be there for them. It is not fair to these same seniors to have their benefits cut to pay for expanded Medicaid coverage for criminals," said Coffman.
Insurers who provide Medicare Advantage plans are scheduled to face reductions in their per-capital reimbursement levels in order to help pay for the cost of Obamacare. Coffman believes that one reason for the bias in Obamacare against Medicare Advantage is the goal of laying a foundation for a complete government-run health care system. According to Coffman, it doesn't make sense to leave privately-administered Medicare Advantage plans still standing given this objective. Coffman believes that by continually lowering the per-capita reimbursement levels to help fund Obamacare, Medicare Advantage plans will be forced to shrink their provider networks, increase out-of-pocket expenses to seniors, and to quit offering any additional services not covered by tradition Medicare. Medicare Advantage plans will eventually be financially squeezed into extinction.
Coffman projects that his legislation will help stabilize the Medicare Advantage program by no longer applying the Medicaid expansion to prison inmates in local and state-run correctional facilities and restoring an estimated $2 billion in savings back into the Medicare Advantage program.
"I think that Medicare Advantage Plans are great options for seniors and I want to do everything I can to not only protect Medicare but to preserve all of the choices that seniors currently enjoy under Medicare," said Coffman.