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Despite Democrats' warnings, private Medicare plans find success

The New York Times, August 27, 2012

More than a quarter of the 50 million beneficiaries receive coverage through private Medicare Advantage plans, mostly health maintenance organizations, and Medicare's drug benefits are delivered exclusively by private insurers, subsidized by the government. Obama administration officials, lawmakers from both parties and beneficiaries have generally been satisfied with the private plans. "Medicare Advantage premiums down 7 percent on average, enrollment up 10 percent," the administration announced in February, and it said the quality of care under Medicare Advantage was improving. Federal spending on Medicare drug benefits has been about 30 percent lower than the Congressional Budget Office predicted when the drug legislation was passed in 2003.