April 01,2013

Press Contact:

Julia Lawless, Antonia Ferrier, 202.224.4515

Hatch Welcomes CMS Decision to Preserve a Strong Medicare Advantage Program

SALT LAKE CITY – U.S. Senator Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), Ranking Member of the Senate Finance Committee, today welcomed the decision by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) to roll back steep proposed cuts to the Medicare Advantage (MA) program.

“Today, CMS rightly acted to reverse course and implement a responsible rate that will preserve choices and ensure continued access to top-notch quality and affordable care for beneficiaries enrolled in the popular Medicare Advantage program,” said Hatch. “While this action alone isn’t a silver bullet to guarantee the sustainability of the Medicare Advantage program, it does reflect the strong bipartisan support for preventing such devastating cuts from occurring. The Medicare Advantage program represents a strong foundation for addressing Medicare’s long-term fiscal challenges, and we hope to work with the Obama Administration to secure Medicare for future generations of Americans.”

Hatch has championed efforts in Washington to prevent what would have been the largest cuts to the program in its history, spearheading multiple letters to CMS Acting Administrator Marilyn Tavenner warning that the cuts could limit choices and access for beneficiaries.  

The MA program, which provides coverage for nearly one out of every four seniors, allows beneficiaries to gain access through a private insurance plan to not only traditional Medicare in-patient and out-patient care, but auxiliary benefits like vision care and better overall care coordination.    

The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) cut $716 billion out of the Medicare program to create a new entitlement program -- $308 billion of those cuts come from the MA program.  Earlier this year, CMS proposed a 2.2 percent cut in the growth factor for MA plans – plus the combination of other policies that could have resulted in nearly a 10 percent cut to private plans.  While MA plans still have to face cuts and harmful policies from PPACA, the final rate calculation announced today means a positive 3.3 percent update to the growth factor.