Center for Political Awareness

Delays, Denials, Debt and the Growing Privatization of Medicare

Medicare Advantage enrollees report treatment denials and delays in payment, leading to harmful outcomes in healthcare.

Advocates hold signs during a news conference on Medicare Advantage plans in Washington DC on 25 July 2023. Photograph: Alex Wong/Getty Images

 

The late healthcare activist Ady Barkan became concerned about Medicare Advantage in 2022, according to Carmen Rhodes, policy director for Be a Hero, the advocacy organization he founded.

The private program’s surge in enrollment “is not going to be good for the American people”, said Rhodes, “because it will be a system that consistently delays and denies people care for profit, and continues to give away billions of dollars to corporations that are actually not best positioned to decide on our healthcare”.

But the expansion of Medicare Advantage has been immensely profitable for private health insurers tied to the program, who enjoy high-gross margins compared with other plans. Over the next 10 years, Medicare Advantage insurers are expected to receive more than $7tn in payments from the federal government.

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