Friday, March 23, 2007
The Bush administration reassured worried health insurance executives Thursday that it strongly opposes efforts to cut their payments and use the savings to expand a separate insurance program for children.
Health and Human Services Secretary Mike Leavitt said that cutting managed care payments to insurers serving the elderly is part of a broader effort by some lawmakers to get the federal government to run health care. "There are those who want the government to do the market's job," Leavitt told members of America's Health Insurance Plans, a trade group. "They want to steer Americans into a government run, one-size-fits-all plan." Democratic lawmakers have listed the expansion of the State Children's Health Insurance Program as their top health priority this year. Their goal: Increase enrollment in the program from about 6 million children to about 12 million. The cost would be about $75 billion over five years _ triple current funding. Many Democrats say some of the money necessary for an expansion should come from the managed care plans that enroll Medicare beneficiaries. Leavitt said the Democrats also wanted to expand the program to middle-income adults.
Ed: How well is the market doing its job in the Medicare Advantage arena? Well, a recent study of MA plans showed that the cost to the government per beneficiary substantially exceed the cost per beneficiary enrolled in traditional Medicare. Hmmm. ....