Friday, January 8, 2010

Isakson Requests Analysis of Senate Health Care Bill

Wants Objective Review of Potential Impact on Medicare, Medicaid, Employer-Sponsored Health Insurance

U.S. Senator Johnny Isakson, R-Ga., today joined 27 of his Senate Republican colleagues in sending a letter to Rick Foster, Chief Actuary at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, requesting an analysis of the Senate Democrats’ $2.5 trillion health care bill.

Throughout debate on the Senate health care reform legislation, Isakson has repeatedly criticized the $470 billion in Medicare cuts for seniors and argued that any funds generated from new policies to address waste, fraud and abuse in Medicare should be used to strengthen the Medicare Trust Fund rather than create new programs.

The text of the letter is below:

Dear Mr. Foster:

We have greatly appreciated your previous actuarial analyses of versions of the House and Senate health care overhaul legislation. Your objective review of a number of pertinent factors has added greatly to the policy debate.

Now that the Senate debate has concluded and Majority Leader Reid’s manager’s amendment has substantially changed the legislation, we respectfully request that the CMS Office of the Actuary complete an analysis of the Senate-passed version of H.R. 3590, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, as expeditiously as possible.

In keeping with the stated goals of health care reform, we would specifically appreciate a determination by the Office of the Actuary as to whether this legislation:
· Will bend the cost curve downward resulting in decreased national health care expenditures in the future
· Will decrease individual health insurance premiums
· Will impact Medicare and Medicaid patient access to health care providers
· Will impact individuals with employer-sponsored health insurance
· Will affect the Medicare Advantage benefits for current and future enrollees.

Additionally, please feel free to provide any other actuarial data regarding the likely impacts of this legislation that is relevant to policy-makers. In particular, we would request that you provide additional information about the accounting rules that allow Medicare reductions to be used to simultaneously finance other federal outlays and extend the solvency of the Medicare Trust Fund. As you may know, the Congressional Budget Office recently called the validity of such double counting into question. Any additional perspectives you could provide regarding the impact of such policies on the federal budget and future deficits would be greatly appreciated.

We look forward to your response and the assurance that this secondary analysis will be completed in order to provide Congress and the American people with the information necessary to fully assess this proposed legislation.

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