Alexander Warns of Medicare Advantage Cuts to 243,000 Tennesseans

Posted on December 8, 2009

U.S. Senator Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) today made the following remarks on the floor of the U.S. Senate: • “Over 243,000 Tennesseans have chosen Medicare Advantage. About one-fourth of all Americans who are on Medicare have chosen Medicare Advantage because it provides the option for increased dental care, vision care, hearing coverage and reduced hospital deductibles . . . This bill cuts those Medicare Advantage benefits, and the director of the Congressional Budget Office says that half of the benefits of Medicare Advantage for these 11 million Americans will be cut.” • “So what’s going to happen behind all of this happy talk we’re hearing about health care is that we’re going to find more and more low-income patients dumped into a program called Medicaid where half the doctors won’t see new Medicaid patients. It’s like giving someone a bus ticket to a bus line that runs half the time.” • “So when we get right down to it and we examine it closely, we find basically a big increase in government-run programs. And what does that mean for low-income Americans and seniors who depend upon our biggest government-run programs? The risk is that they may not have access to the doctor they want.” • “It’s interesting that all week we’ve been going back and forth saying to the other side, ‘You’re cutting Medicare benefits.’ They’ve been saying to us, ‘Oh, no we’re not.’ Tennesseans must be saying, ‘Who’s right about this?’ Well, the Senator from Florida who sits on the other side of the aisle has said that he’s not willing to go back to Florida and say to the people that their benefits aren’t going to be cut if they’re on Medicare Advantage. . . The Democratic senator from Florida doesn’t trust this bill, and we don’t either.”