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Groups Call On Senator Charles Schumer to Lead Senate In Strengthening Medicare
Date:11/30/2007

e cuts scheduled for 2008 and 2009, left unaddressed, would make this problem drastically worse. Senator Schumer has been a strong advocate of protecting senior access to care, and we urge him to continue these efforts."

"New York StateWide Senior Action Council, is proud of Senator Schumer's efforts to protect seniors. We ask him to continue this by shifting excess payments away from MA plans, putting the funds back into physicians' reimbursement for treating seniors and into reducing premium increases," said John Eadie, NY StateWide Senior Action Council Executive Director.

Medicare premiums have doubled since 2000. At the same time, doctors are facing Medicare payment cuts of 10% beginning in January. This cut could result in millions of older Americans losing access to their doctors who will likely have to limit the number of patients treated under Medicare. On the other hand, the Senate could reduce the billions in excess payments private insurance companies in Medicare receive, commonly known as Medicare Advantage or MA, and use those funds to keep doctors in Medicare and keep premiums affordable.

Reducing excess payments to private insurance companies in Medicare would also provide funds to raise the asset test limit for the Medicare Drug Program's Low-Income Subsidy (LIS) and the Part B low-income assistance program (MSP). Currently, the asset limit for LIS is set firmly at $11,700 for individuals, and for MSPs it's even lower - $4000 in most cases, making millions of low-income seniors who have modest retirement savings ineligible for subsidy under Medicare's prescription drug program.

More than 2.8 million New Yorkers participate in Medicare. On average, Medicare will make excess payments in the millions to MA private plans operating in New York in 2007. on average, MA private plans are paid 12 percent more than it would cost to care for the same patient in the traditional Medicare program - at the expense of taxpayers,
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SOURCE AARP New York
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