WASHINGTON—As Congress approaches the end of the legislative year, AARP Director of Government Relations David Sloane issued the following statement on efforts to pass a package of Medicare improvements.
“Given the inability to find consensus on a broader Medicare improvement package, the short term package coming before the Senate this week is the path of least resistance and is woefully inadequate. Enactment of this legislation does little to protect millions of Medicare beneficiaries from higher monthly premiums and only temporarily averts the problems beneficiaries would face finding a physician if payment cuts take place.
“The American people deserve better. It is a shame that our elected officials will go home for the holidays without helping low-income beneficiaries get the care they need by strengthening programs directly targeted at the most vulnerable older Americans.
“It also is discouraging to millions of older Americans that the administration was unwilling to consider any reductions in the billions of dollars in excess payments to Medicare Advantage plans—particularly to private fee-for-service plans, which do not have to coordinate care and have been the subject of widespread marketing abuses—in order to help improve Medicare.
“As the 2008 debate returns to Medicare, AARP will again be pursuing policies that protect beneficiaries from excessive premiums and strengthen assistance for low-income individuals.”