AARP Unhappy With Baucus Medicare Plan

Sen. Max Baucus (D-Mont.) today released the broad outlines of Medicare legislation aimed at preventing scheduled cuts to doctors’ reimbursement rates, and the nation’s largest senior lobby was not pleased.

“We’re gravely disappointed at the outline we saw today that includes very little to protect Medicare beneficiaries,” said AARP’s chief health lobbyist, Kirsten Sloan.

In the past, Congress has prevented cuts to doctors by passing along part of the cost to Medicare patients, a move that AARP has been working to avoid this year. In his announcement, the chairman of the Senate Finance Committee said he’ll work during the Memorial Day recess to further craft a bill that can be taken to the Senate floor in early June.

But with no mention of premium protections in the just-released outline, AARP said it expects to launch a flurry of lobbing activity over the recess to help remind senators how strongly their constituents feel about keeping Medicare premium increases in check.

“We’re not going to leave any senator out as we strive to ensure that the final vote is in the best interest of people in Medicare,” said AARP spokesman Drew Nannis.