WASHINGTON — Representative Pramila Jayapal (WA-07), Chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, issued the following statement on the new proposed rule from the Biden administration’s Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) to address predatory Medicare Advantage plans:

“Progressives in Congress have long fought to end the predation of corporate health care and we welcome this step from the Biden administration to address some elements of Medicare Advantage, one of the worst offenders in attempting to privatize Medicare and harm care for seniors. The new proposed rule includes some important safeguards that would protect our seniors’ health and their wallets, including addressing predatory marketing of Medicare Advantage plans and ensuring fair competition. The rule also adds new requirements for coverage of mental health and substance use care and increases transparency on how Medicare Advantage’s harmful practices, like preauthorization and restricted networks, impact underserved communities. 

“However, the most important piece to ensuring these rules are followed is the enforcement of these rules and ensuring meaningful penalties that discourage predatory behavior. The proposed rule does not include any of these enforcement or increased penalty provisions to hold Medicare Advantage plans accountable, and we believe this is essential to achieve the results that the rule intends to achieve. The companies operating these plans are making billions off of our seniors annually and they’re not going to give up easily. 

“We know that Medicare Advantage plans run by these private insurance companies seek to lure in unsuspecting seniors, making enormous profits from their pain, and ultimately offer far inferior care to traditional Medicare. By holding these Medicare Advantage plans accountable, we will also bring in the resources needed to expand traditional Medicare and provide the kinds of care that seniors need and deserve. Privatized health care is always going to put profits over people’s health, and the best coverage will always be universal coverage. As we continue the fight for Medicare For All, we must seize every opportunity to expand access to health care in the current system and reject every attempt by corporate entities to defraud and steal from our families.”