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Rep. Pete Stark
Rep. Pete Stark

Stark rips AHIP report on Medicare Advantage

By Matthew DoBias
Posted: September 15, 2009 - 2:45 pm ET

A Democratic leader in the House has bashed a report from America's Health Insurance Plans that found Medicare Advantage beneficiaries receive better-quality care than those enrolled in traditional fee-for-service plans.

“AHIP's reports attempt to portray taxpayer overpayments to MA plans as indispensable for low-income, minority Medicare beneficiaries, when the opposite is true,” Rep. Pete Stark (D-Calif.) said in a written statement. “These overpayments to private insurers increase premiums for all Medicare beneficiaries to pad the pockets of insurance companies.” Stark is chairman of the House Ways and Means Health Subcommittee.

The annual study, which uses data on hospital admissions in two states compiled by the federal Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, found that patients enrolled in Medicare Advantage had fewer days hospitalized, had a lower rate of readmissions and a keener focus on preventive care.

“Medicare Advantage plans coordinate care, help seniors manage chronic conditions and focus on prevention to help seniors stay healthy in the first place,” AHIP President and CEO Karen Ignagni said in a written statement. Under a broad health reform proposal in the House, Medicare Advantage would be trimmed by more than $156 billion over the next decade.

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