Medicare enrollees oppose cuts to MA to fix physician pay

Seniors oppose cutting the Medicare Advantage (MA) program to fund the Medicare physician payment fix, and believe cuts to MA will hurt them, according to a study jointly conducted by Ayers, McHenry & Associates and the Feldman Group on behalf of America’s Health Insurance Plans. This opposition was voiced by enrollees in traditional Medicare and in MA plans.

Traditional Medicare enrollees oppose cutting MA instead of cutting payments for doctors who treat Medicare patients by a 3–1 ratio; MA enrollees oppose it by a 6–1 ratio.

“Seniors agree that the physician payment system needs to be fixed, but not at the expense of more than nine million people who rely on the high-value coverage they receive from Medicare Advantage plans,” says Karen Ignagni, president and CEO of America’s Health Insurance Plans.

Half of seniors enrolled in traditional Medicare or Medicare Advantage plans oppose the scheduled cut in payments to doctors. But seniors would prefer cutting other programs besides Medicare Advantage or raising taxes to offset the spending needed to stop a scheduled cut in physician payments.

At press time on June 29, Congress was unable to decide how to prevent a 10 percent cut in payments to doctors that would take effect July 1.

Do you approve or disapprove of proposed cuts to the Medicare Advantage program instead of cutting payments to doctors?

If Congress moves to stop the scheduled cut in physicians’ payments, how do you think it should offset this spending?

Source: Ayers, McHenry & Associates and the Feldman Group. National Survey of Seniors in Medicare Regarding Medicare Advantage & Pay cuts for Doctors. June 11–15, 2008.

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