Historically, Democrats have opposed Medicare Advantage for doling out “outsized federal support in comparison to Medicare,” while Republicans have championed the program as a “private market alternative to Medicare.” However, with midterm elections looming, dozens of Democrats have banded with the Republicans to implore Obama to keep Medicare Advantage rates flat to avoid cutting benefits for thousands of American seniors:
The opposition to the cuts includes Democrats who frequently differ from the administration on policy, such as Blue Dog Democratic Rep. John Barrow, a perennial GOP target in Georgia, and Sens. Mark Pryor (Ark.) and Mary Landrieu (La.), two of the party’s most vulnerable Senate incumbents.
It also includes White House allies and party heavyweights like Sens. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) and Michael Bennett (D-Co.), the chairman of the Senate Democrats’ campaign arm.
The opponents have written to the administration urging it to stop the cuts, and engaged in a House floor protest on Thursday to up the pressure.
The administration argues that the cuts rectify “overpayments” in the program, taking the typical Democratic stance that the program offers outsized benefits. However, seniors make up a disproportionate percentage of the voting population in midterm elections. The Democrats — who are in real danger of losing the Senate — are well aware of this fact, which perhaps explains their sudden shift in support.
The 2015 rates for Medicare Advantage will be announced on Monday.