Federal officials attacked Medicare carriers in late 2009 for trying to get plan members to oppose the big health bills; now Republicans say the government is propagandizing in favor of the changes.
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, an arm of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, has produced a health system change brochure that discusses the recent changes in the Medicare program resulting from passage of the Affordable Care Act – the legislative package that includes the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act and the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act.
Senate Republicans have sent a letter to HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius contending that the brochure, “Medicare and the New Health Care Law–What It Means for You,” is “inaccurate and misleading brochure.
“We believe by selectively providing information, you are misleading seniors about the full impact of the new federal health care law,” the senators write.
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The letter was signed by Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., and also by Sens. Jon Kyl, R-Ariz.; Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., John Thune, R-S.D.; Charles Grassley, R-Iowa; Michael Enzi, R-Wyo.; Dr. Thomas Coburn, R-Okla.; and Dr. John Barrasso, R-Wyo.
In the first paragraph, the senators write, the brochure says that ACA will increase the quality of health care.
The chief Medicare actuary says ACA changes probably will cause about 15% of the health care providers now in Medicare to drop out of the program, the Republican senators write.
“Changes that jeopardize access to health care services will not increase the quality of care,” the senators write. “It is not possible to simultaneously increase the quality of care and reduce access to services.”
The second paragraph of the brochure says ACA will “keep Medicare strong and solvent,” the senators write.