GOP wants more records on $8B Medicare program

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GAO has said HHS should simply end the demonstration program, which gives bonus payments to Medicare Advantage plans that meet certain quality standards.

Energy and Commerce Chairman Fred Upton (R-Mich.) and Oversight subcommittee Chairman Cliff Stearns (R-Fla.) said Thursday that the program is a smokescreen for the significant Medicare Advantage cuts in President Obama's healthcare law.

"The Committee continues to be concerned that this demonstration project is merely masking the looming Medicare Advantage cuts, and that the program is in serious jeopardy because of the magnitude of [the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act's] cuts which the government's own actuary estimates will result in the loss of 50 percent of the enrollment in Medicare Advantage," the lawmakers wrote in a letter to HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius.

Upton and Stearns asked Sebelius to turn over more documents about the demonstration program. They requested information about the program in March, but said Thursday that it "strains credulity" to believe that what HHS handed over is "fully responsive."