Recently Humana, a Kentucky insurance company that offers Medicare Advantage plans, sent a letter to all of the seniors enrolled in its plans. Although some say the form of the letter may have been an issue, it is the substance of the letter that drew outrage from Senator Baucus (D-Mont.), the author of the Baucus Unaffordable Health Care Bill.
The letter advised seniors that because of spending cuts to Medicare contained within the bill,
millions of seniors and disabled individuals could lose many of the important benefits and services that make Medicare Advantage health plans so valuable.
As a result of the Senator’s ire, the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) sent Humana a cease and desist order claiming that the mailing was “misleading and confusing”.
Just in case the cease and desist order against Humana doesn’t do the trick, the CMS (no doubt at Senator Baucus’ urging) has also banned any provider of Medicare Advantage plans from providing similar information to their insureds.
Here is what Senator Baucus had to say,
It is wholly inappropriate for insurance companies to mislead seniors regarding any subject—particularly on a subject as important to them, and to the nation, as health-care reform…[t]he health-care reform bill we released last week strengthens Medicare and does not cut benefits covered under the Medicare program—and seniors need to know that.
I can only assume that Senator Baucus hasn’t read his own bill as it clearly makes major cuts to Medicare Advantage Plans. Or, he hasn’t listened to the Congressional Budget Office which places the cuts to Medicare Advantage at $100 billion over 10 years. Or, he hasn’t listened to any of the well over 100 speeches given by the President, which also describe the cuts to Medicare Advantage.
And, here is what Senator McConnell (R. Ky.) had to say in response, but Hot Air has the full speech on video.
Update: And who at CMS decided the Humana letter was false and misleading? Jonathan Blum…a former senior aide to Senator Baucus, and a health advisor on the Obama transition team!
Although, the President has called for a civil discourse about Obamacare, it would seem to be difficult to have that discourse with a gag in your mouth.