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Poll: Seniors more satisfied with Medicare Advantage

Seniors on Medicare Advantage plans are more satisfied with their coverage than those on traditional Medicare, according to a new poll from the Morning Consult

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The poll comes as lawmakers from both parties have been pressuring the Obama administration not to make cuts to the Medicare Advantage program, ahead of an announcement of payment rates on Monday. 

Satisfaction is high with both traditional Medicare and Medicare Advantage, where the government contracts with private insurers to provide coverage. But it is still higher with Medicare Advantage. 

The poll finds that 80 percent of seniors are satisfied with the overall cost of MA plans, compared with 68 percent for traditional Medicare. On benefits, 86 percent are satisfied with MA, and 77 percent with traditional Medicare. 

Overall, the gap is smaller, with 88 percent satisfied with MA and 85 percent with traditional Medicare. 

Medicare Advantage pays about 2 percentage points more than traditional Medicare, according to the Medicare Payment Advisory Commission. The disparity was higher until ObamaCare brought down payment rates for MA, cuts that have been decried by Republicans. 

The Obama administration in Feburary proposed a modest cut of around a 1 percent cut next year. It will announce its final decision on Monday.

Administration officials said at the time that despite the proposed cut, the average plan would actually see a 1 percent increase in revenue because of new measures seeking to reward quality.  

The insurance industry has lobbied against the cuts, including bringing seniors to Washington to serve baked goods and talk about what the program means to them. 

Bipartisan groups of 239 members of the House and 53 members of the Senate have written to the administration to urge against the cuts. 

“The newly proposed cuts could represent a significant threat to the health and financial security of seniors in our congressional districts who rely on their MA plans to meet their health care needs,” the House members wrote.