Medicare Managed Care Companies Will Fare Better Under Bush, Rep. Says
Managed care plans participating in the Medicare+Choice program might "get more support and ... flourish" under President Bush than they did under former President Clinton, Rep. Wally Herger (R) said last week in a telephone interveiw with the Chico Enterprise. The current program has been a "failure in rural areas," Herger said, noting that some MCOs have pulled out of parts of California, leaving Medicare beneficiaries to find a new coverage. Herger said, "The problem is [the program] hasn't been funded adequately," adding that the Clinton administration appeared "to be doing all it could to scuttle the program." The Enterprise reports that Herger is part of a coalition of 175 House members who represent rural districts and that there is "probably no more important issue on their agenda now ... than trying to get a better deal for their constituents who are on Medicare." Herger said that he would like to see "more equity in the way rural and urban counties are funded through" Medicare+Choice (Mitchell, Chico Enterprise, 1/31).
In the Riverside area, thousands of seniors soon will have to choose between staying with their doctors or staying with their Medicare MCO, as PacifiCare's Secure Horizons, the Inland region's largest Medicare MCO, canceled its contract with the Riverside Physician Network, effective March 1. PacifiCare also might cancel its contract with Riverside Medical Clinic. Both of the disputes center on reimbursements, the Riverside Press-Enterprise reports. Secure Horizons spokesperson Tyler Mason said that "limited federal funding" has prompted the MCO to make "tough choices" in how it pays for medical services. More than 7,000 Riverside-area seniors receive care through the two medical groups (Beeman, Riverside Press-Enterprise, 2/1).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.