A Democratic presidential contender is attacking insurers that sell private Medicare plans.

Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., who earlier this year made a point of publicizing his concerns about possible problems with pricing and claims in the private long term care insurance industry, has followed up with a press release about the Medicare Advantage program.

The New York Times drew attention to the program earlier this week with a front-page article citing reports of overly aggressive Medicare Advantage plan marketing practices.

Most of the examples dealt with the Medicare Advantage private fee-for-service plan program.

If Obama becomes president, “he will end government subsidies to insurance companies who have been using deceitful and illegal methods to enroll seniors in private Medicare plans that can result in higher co-payments and fewer health care choices,” Obama declared in a press release distributed through Business Wire.

“We shouldn’t be rewarding the insurance industry for deceiving and defrauding our seniors, we should be doing everything we can to stop them,” Obama says in a statement included in the release.

Obama cited Medicare Payment Admission Commission figures indicating that the government pays 12% more to private Medicare plans than it costs to treat comparable beneficiaries through traditional Medicare.

The government should cut about $150 billion in payments to companies in the program over the next 10 years and use the money to strengthen Medicare and other public health programs, Obama says.