A House Republican hearing on the harmful impact of Obamacare on Medicare Advantage completely backfired when the expert witnesses that Republicans invited disagreed with them.
Subcommittee on Health Chairman Rep. Kevin Brady (R-TX) set the stage for gloom and doom, “The future for Medicare Advantage may look grim. The questionable $8.3 billion quality bonus payment demonstration program used to mask the ACA cuts is coming to an end…This leaves the looming threat that Medicare Advantage plan rates could again include the broken physician reimbursement formula, unless we finally and permanently fix the way Medicare pays physicians. Instead of improving the situation, CMS’s regulatory actions are threatening plans through potential termination and limiting their ability to innovate.”
The Republicans quickly crashed and burned when their own witnesses disagreed with them.
Chris Wing of SCAN Health Plan said, “The MA program continues to grow in popularity. It gives seniors and other eligible individuals what they want: choice, coordination of care, affordability. It has begun to put the incentives in place for constant quality improvement by rewarding collaboration between providers and plans. Congress should have a strong interest in seeing the continued advancement of Medicare Advantage.”
Joe Baker of the Medicare Rights Center testified, “Many predicted that ACA changes to MA payment methods would lead to widespread disruption of the MA market. However, there is little evidence that this has occurred. In fact, it is important to note that MA enrollment is at an all-time high, with nearly 16 million beneficiaries now enrolled in an MA plan, representing a steadily growing percentage of beneficiaries. In addition, premium costs, benefit levels, and the availability of MA plans remain relatively stable across the country.”
Robert Book of Health Systems Innovation Network told the committee, “Since its inception, Medicare Advantage has proved to be one of the most popular and successful components of Medicare, with enrollment steadily increasing over time.”
The expert testimony of the witnesses that the Republicans invited was that Medicare Advantage enrollment is at an all time high. The myth that the ACA is going to kill Medicare is one of the favorite standards used by Republicans to scare seniors out of supporting Obamacare.
Republicans repeatedly called Obamacare a raid on Medicare despite the fact that their own experts, who were sitting right in front of them, disagreed. The scene was surreal. Republicans kept discussing how Obamacare is destroying Medicare while ignoring the facts that were being presented to them at their own hearing.
The hearing itself was another waste of time and money as House Republicans continue to try to convince the American people that affordable access to healthcare is a bad thing.
Republicans may have lost the battle and the war, but they are never going to stop lying about Obamacare.