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April 12, 2019

King, Daines Launch Bipartisan Effort to Strengthen Medicare Advantage Benefits

WASHINGTON, D.C. — U.S. Senators Angus King (I-Maine) and Steve Daines (R-Mont.) today renewed efforts to protect Medicare benefits by re-introducing the Medicare Advantage Quality Payment Relief Act. The bipartisan bill would reverse an unintended policy of the Affordable Care Act that is currently denying millions of seniors and people with disabilities the full measure of their Medicare Advantage benefits.

“Medicare Advantage is a tried and true program that gives Maine seniors and people with disabilities high-quality, patient-centered care,” Senator King said. “With over ninety percent of enrollees reporting a satisfaction rate, we should be working every day to strengthen and improve Medicare Advantage. This common sense bill is an important step forward to help people in Maine and across the country receive the benefits they are owed.”

The Affordable Care Act attempted to provide better benefits for seniors and people with disabilities who are enrolled in the best Medicare Advantage Plans. Unfortunately, the law limited these “bonus payments” from ever reaching beneficiary by putting a “cap” on the payments that these Medicare plans receive.

Senator King has been a vocal proponent of protecting and improving the Affordable Care Act, which has helped millions of Americans access healthcare. In July 2018, Senator King joined a group of his colleagues to introduce a resolution that would have authorized the Senate Legal Counsel to intervene in Texas v. United States, and in December 2018 he joined a group of Senate colleagues to call on President Trump to condemn the resulting decision in the case. He has also fought the Administration’s various attempts to sabotage the health care lawurged Maine people to sign up for health insurance during the shortened Open Enrollment period, and met with Maine people around the state to discuss the ACA’s importance to their lives

Senator King is also a strong supporter of Medicare, which provides millions of seniors across the country with high-quality health care. He is a cosponsor of the Medicare Prescription Drug Price Negotiation Act, legislation that would allow the Department of Health and Human Services to negotiate lower prices for prescription drugs under Medicare. He is also a cosponsor of the Empowering Medicare Seniors to Negotiate Drug Prices Act, which would allow Medicare to negotiate prescription drug costs to help the nearly 43 million seniors enrolled in Medicare Part D. Current law only allows for bargaining by pharmaceutical companies and prohibits Medicare from doing so. He has continually worked to strengthen telehealth services to help rural Maine seniors, improve care outcomes, and make it easier for patients to connect with their health care provider. In February, Senator King joined a bipartisan letter to Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) Administrator Seema Verma urging her to strengthen the Medicare Advantage program by increasing the use of telemedicine, promoting value-based insurance design, and expanding benefits that address social determinants of health by including transportation, nutrition, and other non-medical needs. 

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