The Obama administration will cut $3 billion from the Medicare program and reduce the number of beneficiaries by 50 percent in 2021, the White House announced Monday.
The administration will eliminate the program’s annual cap on payment and reimbursements to physicians and hospitals, cutting the program from its projected $8.2 trillion in 2016 to $7.8 trillion in 2021.
The announcement comes amid mounting pressure on the White, and the GOP-led Congress, to act to reform the Medicare Advantage program.
On Monday, a bipartisan group of senators, led by Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., introduced a bill to repeal the Affordable Care Act’s expansion of Medicare Advantage.
A bill to replace the Affordable Healthcare Act’s Medicaid expansion would be introduced this month, but it hasn’t yet been introduced in the Senate.
Alexander said he believes that the U.N. is responsible for the current situation.
“We’re the ones who are responsible for creating this crisis and the fact that the system is broken is really our responsibility,” Alexander said in an interview with CNBC.
“This is a crisis that has been brewing for a long time and has been ignored by the administration,” he added.
Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.
Va., said Monday that the Medicare system needs to be “reformed.”
“Our Medicare program has been hijacked,” Manchin said.
“We need to get it right.”
A number of Republican senators have called for a government shutdown in response to the White’s announcement.
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi has said that if a shutdown is called, “we will go to the barricades and demand a government-funded shutdown to get to the bottom of the crisis.”
“A shutdown is not the answer,” Pelosi said on CBS’ Face the Nation.
“A government shutdown is the last resort.
We can do nothing about this crisis.
We cannot afford a shutdown.”
Alexander, who has been a leading voice in efforts to reform Medicare, called on the Trump administration to address the “irrationality” of the program.
“It’s a system that we built,” he said.
Medicare has faced increasing pressure from lawmakers and the public in recent years, particularly as Medicare beneficiaries have become older.
In January, a report from the Kaiser Family Foundation found that the number ailing Medicare beneficiaries is projected to rise to a record 4.4 million in 2021 compared to a projected 1.8 million in 2020.