U.S. Rep. Tim Murphy makes unsubstantiated statements intended to frighten senior citizens in his Jan. 29 letter ("Coordinated Care Would Help People and Save Money").
I do not question his advocacy of "broader use of prevention, early diagnosis and chronic disease management" as a method of improving health care outcomes. Studies prove this. But he then goes on to steer readers to equate the Medicare Advantage program to such scientifically studied programs. No studies have been done to prove that the Advantage programs have better outcomes than non-Advantage programs.
The Advantage program was started as a gift to the insurance industry in a first step toward privatizing Medicare. The insurance providers promised more care for less cost. That lasted a short time. Now, for the approximately 23 percent of the Medicare population who receive these services, Medicare pays an additional 15 percent per member than what is paid for each non-Advantage recipient.
My questions to Rep. Murphy are:
If the Advantage program is cost-effective, can't the for-profit insurance companies provide the services without additional charge? Profits will rise because of improved health outcomes.
If this is a cost-effective, health-assuring program, why isn't it available to all Medicare recipients? This is a question of fairness. The 77 percent of Medicare recipients who do not have access to Advantage programs subsidize the 23 percent who participate.
Finally, are you opposed to cuts in waste and abuse? The Advantage program cuts account for $118 billion in the proposed $500 billion cuts to Medicare. The rest, $382 billion, is to be cut from waste and abuse.
ROSEMARY S. PROSTKO