CMS Deputy Administrator Touts Bush’s Plan To Increase Medicare+Choice Reimbursement Rates
African-American and Hispanic seniors will "disproportionately lose access to medical care" unless Congress approves an increase in reimbursement rates for Medicare+Choice plans that President Bush has proposed, CMS Deputy Administrator Ruben King-Shaw said yesterday in Denver, the Denver Post reports. In his fiscal year 2003 budget plan, Bush has proposed a 6.5% increase in reimbursement rates for Medicare+Choice plans, aimed at preventing HMOs from withdrawing from the program. King-Shaw's visit to Denver marks the latest stop in a nationwide tour to "drum up support" for Bush's proposal in cities with large populations of minority seniors. Many HMOs have withdrawn from Medicare+Choice in recent years, a trend that has left millions of seniors without access to supplemental health coverage. Medicare HMOs often provide seniors prescription drug coverage and disease management programs that fee-for-service Medicare does not, King-Shaw said. "The people that need these services are often in the least able position to buy them," he added. King-Shaw also said that a large number of African-American and Hispanic seniors have enrolled in Medicare+Choice plans. About 52% of African-American Medicare beneficiaries and 40% of Hispanic beneficiaries participate in Medicare+Choice, compared with 38% of white beneficiaries, according to a recent Emory University study (Austin, Denver Post, 7/25).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.