Medicare, the cherished health care of senior citizens, faces a challenging financial future. According to CBO projections, Medicare spending as a total of federal spending will rise from 10.1% to 18.8% in the next decade.
Some solutions to this problem assume that private enterprise can lower costs. However health care is not market driven, instead desirability increases with availability.
One of the most threatening efforts underway to “improve” Medicare is the Medicare Direct Contracting program. Under this program, seniors who actively choose Traditional Medicare are instead automatically enrolled into a third-party “Direct Contracting Entity” (DCE) without their full knowledge or consent. Medicare then pays DCEs a lump sum to manage beneficiaries’ care, allowing DCEs to keep up to 40% as profit – a dangerous incentive to ration and restrict care. Once a senior is auto-enrolled into a DCE, their only way out of the program is to change primary care providers, especially burdensome in rural communities. Any type of company can apply to be a DCE, including venture capital investors and are approved without input from Congress.
While Traditional Medicare is highly efficient, spending 98% of its budget on patient care, the DCE could spend as little as 60% of what Medicare pays them. Similarly, Medicare Advantage plans have cost the federal government an excess of $7 billion in 2019 without significantly improved health care.
There is hope for Colorado seniors, however, since Sen. Bennet serves on the Senate Finance Committee. Please contact Sen. Bennet to stop this Medicare hijack.
Joan MacEachen, MD