HHS gives Medicare Advantage plans a $6.7 billion infusion

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Long-term care providers are participating in 'most ambitious test' of bundled payments, CMS announc
Long-term care providers are participating in 'most ambitious test' of bundled payments, CMS announc
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services is giving Medicare Advantage plans $6.7 billion in quality bonuses to take the heat off service cuts authorized under the Affordable Care Act, the Associated Press reported.

The Affordable Care Act would have cut Medicare Advantage plans by $145 billion over 10 years because of previous overpayments. Medicare Advantage, also known as Medicare Part C, is a popular private insurance program, generally covering vision, dental, hearing and prescriptions along with traditional hospital and medical coverage. About one-fourth of Medicare beneficiaries are signed up in Medicare Advantage plans.

Sen. Orin Hatch (R-UT) and Rep. Dave Camp (R-MI) wrote, in a letter to HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, that the bonuses "may represent a thinly veiled use of taxpayer dollars for political purposes," according to the AP. CMS officials say the funds are tied strictly to quality improvement, not politics.