Medicare Advantage Redux

September 9, 2017
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Writing at the Health Affairs Blog the other day, Marsha Gold claimed that, “Existing research provides no evidence that either traditional Medicare or Medicare Advantage perform consistently better than the other.” If so, that’s bad news for Obama Care. Medicare Advantage plans and they way they are accessed come closer to what the Administration wants out of health reform than anything on the horizon. Medicare Advantage HMOs are more like the Accountable Health Care HMOs the Administration has been touting than conventional Medicare, and as I wrote before:

  • They provide subsidized coverage to low- and moderate-income people who could otherwise not afford it.
  • They control costs better than conventional insurance by eliminating unnecessary care.
  • They provide higher quality care.
  • They have no pre-existing condition limitations and some plans actually specialize in attracting and caring for patients with multiple illnesses.
  • They provide an annual choice of plans.
  • They even compete against a public plan.

See also here and here. These results come from industry funded research. But as Jeff Lemieux points out in a response to Gold, these and other studies are going through the peer review process, and in any event Gold should be familiar with them.

I’m not a fan of HMOs but fair is fair.