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AHIP Eyes 5.9 Percent MA Payment Cut, Market Disruptions

Christopher Cheney, for HealthLeaders Media, February 28, 2014

"During the debate on Obamacare, many of us warned about the impact on America's seniors of raiding Medicare to finance a new entitlement program," the senators wrote. "At the time, we cautioned that the steep cuts to Medicare Advantage required by Obamacare would cause seniors to lose access to many of the health plans and benefits that they had liked, contrary to the President's promises."

On Wednesday, the proposed MA payment cut was the inspiration for political theater, as senators from both sides of the isle participated in a C-SPAN spectacle.

Republicans including Cornyn suggested the proposed payment cut would cannibalize Medicare Advantage to prop up the PPACA. "The truth is, these cuts in Medicare Advantage will force many seniors to pay higher premiums and further undermine their existing healthcare arrangements," the Texas senator said.

Senate Democrats fired back, highlighting the most popular PPACA reforms such as providing health insurance regardless of pre-existing conditions. Standing next to a poster listing several early accomplishments of President Obama's hallmark domestic policy initiative, Sen. Chris Murphy (D-CT) defended the proposed MA payment cut. "We were paying private insurance companies 13 percent more than it cost the federal government to run Medicare," Murphy said. "It just didn't make sense."

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