Friday, June 25, 2010

Barrasso Demands Answers on Misleading Medicare Mailer

Press Releases

“The over 76,000 residents of Wyoming and over 46 million Americans who depend on Medicare deserve the truth.”
May 27, 2010

Washington, D.C. – Today, Senator John Barrasso (R-Wyo.) released the following statement about the Administration’s misleading mailer to American seniors regarding the new health care law. Barrasso also joined other Senate Republicans in sending a letter to Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius to demand answers about the mailer.

“Once again, the Administration that promised to be the ‘the most transparent’ in history is hiding the facts. Instead of leveling with Medicare patients about the negative impacts of this law, the Administration sent out a pamphlet that paints a much rosier picture. The over 76,000 residents of Wyoming and over 46 million Americans who depend on Medicare deserve the truth. This law, which cuts Medicare by half a trillion dollars to create a brand new government program, will cut benefits and make it harder for patients to see their doctor. Secretary Sebelius should explain why the Administration is misleading America’s seniors.”
Highlights of the Letter:

“In the first paragraph, the brochure claims that the new health care law will result in ‘increased quality health care.’ Yet Medicare’s Chief Actuary noted that, absent legislation to intervene and correct the payment cuts in the new law, some providers would ‘end their participation in the program’ with the effect of ‘possibly jeopardizing access for beneficiaries.’ The Chief Actuary further concluded that 15 percent of Part A providers – hospitals, skilled nursing facilities, hospices and home health agencies – may be unable to sustain their operations in the next ten years as a result of the drastic Medicare cuts in the new law.

“In the second paragraph, the brochure states that the health care law will ‘keep Medicare strong and solvent.’ However, the Chief Medicare Actuary concluded in an April 22, 2010, memorandum that cuts in Medicare ‘may be unrealistic.’ In addition, cuts to Medicare are being used to pay for a trillion dollar health care bill, and therefore cannot also be used to improve the solvency of the program. The Chief Actuary's memorandum plainly states that the reduced spending resulting from the significant Medicare cuts in the new health care law, ‘cannot be simultaneously used to finance other Federal outlays (such as coverage expansions) and to extend the trust fund.’ The CBO Director asserted the same in a letter to Senator Sessions on December 23, 2009.

“The brochure states that ‘your guaranteed benefits won't change’ despite the very clear conclusion by the Chief Actuary in his memorandum that the cuts to Medicare Advantage under the new law will ‘result in less generous benefit packages.The statement in the brochure is misleading to millions of seniors, as the benefits they currently receive will change, and not only will they change, but they will be cut.”


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