Murphy defends Medicare Advantage cuts

After several Republicans bashed President Obama’s recent plan to cut subsidies to Medicare Advantage, Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) defended the decision Wednesday.

Under the Affordable Care Act, also known as ObamaCare, the federal government is using savings from cuts to Medicare Advantage, a private health insurance alternative for seniors, to help reduce the cost of prescription drugs for seniors.

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Murphy said that decision was justified because it helps seniors directly rather than helping private insurance companies.

“We were paying private insurance companies 13 percent more than it cost the federal government to run Medicare,” Murphy said on the Senate floor. “It just didn’t make sense … so we ended those subsidies.”

Since the administration announced the latest round of cuts to Medicare Advantage on Friday, Republicans have criticized the decision, saying it doesn’t make sense to end a popular program to fund an unpopular one.

“Why would the administration want to raid a program that’s working, like Medicare Advantage, to fund a program that doesn’t, like ObamaCare?” Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said. “It’s not fair. It’s not right.”

Republican Sens. Mike Johanns (Neb.), John Barrasso (Wyo.), John Cornyn (Texas), Deb Fischer (Neb.), Dan Coats (Ind.), Orrin Hatch (Utah) and John Thune (S.D.) joined McConnell in opposition to the Medicare Advantage cuts.

Murphy said Republican actually supported the same cuts because they were included in House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan’s (R-Wis.) budget.

“Republicans have voted for these cuts as well, in the Ryan budget,” Murphy said. “Instead of subsidizing private sector insurance companies, let’s subsidize seniors.”