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The Voice of John Gorman
The 2018 “landscape files” for Medicare Advantage (MA) and Medicare Part D from The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) are out, and they show the two programs as stronger than ever, and providing great value to beneficiaries. A closer look at the numbers also reveals the strategies of market leaders to get in front of two seismic events in government health programs.
Supporters of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) won another huge battle against TrumpCare this week, but the war rages on. The threat will continue to loom until Trump is removed from office, Democrats retake the House or Senate, or the Senate provides him a win with a bipartisan market stabilization bill in the wake of the stinging defeat of Graham-Cassidy, his third failure to repeal the ACA.
I worked on single-payer healthcare legislation for US Rep. John Conyers (D-MI), my hometown Congressman from Detroit and an early leader on the issue with Rep. Jim McDermott (D-WA) in the 90’s. It’s not surprising the idea has gone nowhere in the 26 years since. While my heart is in it as a means of universal coverage, Bernie’s “Medicare for All” proposal as dropped this week is a conversation piece, and that’s it. It’s DOA as legislation.
A little section in the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act (MACRA) is bringing big changes to Medicare supplemental insurance, also known as Medigap, bought by more than 12 million seniors to help fill in the coverage holes in traditional Medicare. In the vast majority of cases, Medigap purchasers augment their coverage with a Medicare Part D Prescription Drug Plan (PDP). That means MACRA’s changes will cause a seismic event in senior markets – Medicare Advantage, Medigap insurers, and PDPs – nationally, starting now.
I am continually amazed by how many health plans in Medicare Advantage (MA) and Medicaid still cling to restrictive, “Dr. No”’90’s-style managed care practices like pre-authorizations, referrals, and concurrent review. With massive policy changes looming in Medicaid, and the influence of Star Ratings in MA greater than ever, health plans may soon have a gun to their heads: evolve medical management from restrictive to supportive, or die.
After six weeks of intensely secret negotiations, the “Better Care Reconciliation Act of 2017” (BCRA) is out, and it’s much worse than the House’s AHCA. The story remains the same: worsening benefit cuts for the poor to provide a tax cut for the rich. After Trump called it “mean,” and literally every healthcare organization has rallied against it, the hoped-for moderating influence of the august upper body of the U.S. Congress is gone. TrumpCare is still mean.