Sending Office: Honorable Earl Blumenauer
Deadline: January 30, 2020
Current Signers: Blumenauer*, Cárdenas*, Guthrie*, Kelly*, Axne, Bilirakis, Bost, Brindisi, Buchanan, Carter, Cole, Cuellar , Diaz-Balart, Fitzpatrick, Gabbard, Gianforte, Gibbs, Graves, Hill, Kim, King, King, Larsen, Lowenthal, Marshall,
McAdams, McKinley, Meeks, Panetta, Payne, Porter, Reschenthaler, Roe, Ryan, Serrano, Sewell, Shalala, Weber, Wenstrup, Wilson, Young
We are writing to ask you to join us in signing a bipartisan letter urging the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) to preserve and strengthen the Medicare Advantage (MA) program and the high quality health plan choices it provides
to millions of seniors and individuals with disabilities. The deadline for signing this letter is January 30, 2020.
Each year, CMS releases payment and policy updates to the MA program in an Advance Notice and Call Letter to MA plan providers. The agency is expected to issue final policy and payment updates in April. Given that these updates will have far-reaching
implications for MA and the nearly 40 percent of eligible Medicare beneficiaries who rely on MA across the country, our letter calls on CMS to continue to work with Congress to “further strengthen the Medicare Advantage program and ensure millions of seniors
have access to comprehensive, affordable health coverage choices.”
Last year, over 300 colleagues joined us in writing in support of the program. We strongly encourage you to continue this momentum and join us in supporting the MA program by signing this bipartisan letter. If you need more information, please
have your staff contact Meghann Galloway in Congressman Tony Cárdenas’ office at Meghann.Galloway@mail.house.gov, Sophie Trainor in Congressman Brett Guthrie’s office at Sophie.Trainor@mail.house.gov,
Martha Cramer in Congressman Earl Blumenauer’s office at Martha.Cramer@mail.house.gov, or Kevin Dawson in Congressman Mike Kelly’s office at Kevin.Dawson@mail.house.gov.
If you would like to sign the letter, please fill in the Google form linked here.
TONY CÁRDENAS BRETT GUTHRIE
Member of Congress Member of Congress
EARL BLUMENAUER MIKE KELLY
Member of Congress Member of Congress
January xx, 2020
Seema Verma, MPH
Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services
Department of Health and Human Services
200 Independence Avenue, SW, Room 445-G
Washington, DC 20201
Dear Administrator Verma:
We write to express strong bipartisan support for the Medicare Advantage program, which 40 percent of eligible Medicare beneficiaries, more than 22 million people, choose to enroll in.We appreciate your ongoing
commitment to preserving and strengthening the Medicare Advantage program for current and future Medicare beneficiaries. As the Administration considers updates to the program for plan year 2021, we urge you to ensure that the Medicare Advantage program will
continue to offer affordable, high-quality, patient-centered coverage options for the diverse populations the program serves, including beneficiaries with End Stage Renal Disease who for the first time will be able to choose a Medicare Advantage plan.
Millions of seniors depend on Medicare Advantage plans to provide comprehensive, affordable health care as they age. In 2020, average premiums are expected to decline by 14 percent to their lowest point in the last 13 years while enrollment is projected
to increase to more than 24 million. Further, the average number of plan choices has continued to increase; in 2020, 93 percent of individuals on Medicare have access to a Medicare Advantage plan that includes prescription
drug coverage for no additional premium.
Medicare Advantage offers affordable, high-quality care coordination, disease management programs, out-of-pocket spending limits, access to community-based programs, additional supplemental benefits such as vision and dental coverage, and often prescription
drug coverage for no additional premium. The program also serves vulnerable and underserved populations that have special needs and chronic conditions and provides supports for seniors at critical times of their life. Moreover, as a result of greater flexibility
in plan benefit offerings, next year nearly 14 million enrollees will have access to additional telehealth benefits, and an estimated 2.6 million beneficiaries will have access to more supplemental benefits, including adult day care services and in-home support
services to help them manage their health. In addition, up to 1.2 million enrollees will have access to new benefits that address social barriers to accessing care such as food assistance, transportation, and home modifications.
For plan year 2021, we urge the Administration to continue its efforts to promote flexibility and innovation, incentivize quality improvements, and support value-based arrangements with health care providers. It will be important to ensure that any substantive
changes to the Medicare Advantage program provide plan sponsors with sufficient time for thorough evaluation, and implementation. We also encourage the Administration to build on the enhanced supplemental benefits that were offered this plan year by providing
additional flexibility, such as expanding telehealth services for underserved and rural communities, to help drive the next generation of innovative approaches in Medicare to improve health outcomes, while also maintaining robust beneficiary protections.
We look forward to continuing to work with you to further strengthen the Medicare Advantage program and ensure millions of seniors have access to comprehensive, affordable health coverage choices.
e-Dear Colleague version 2.0