October 4, 2023

Dear colleague,

Commercial insurance companies exist for one reason and one reason only: to make money. Corporate entities like Humana and UnitedHealthcare have become experts at charging as much as they can, paying out as little as possible for medical care, and pocketing the rest.

These practices extend to the so-called “Medicare Advantage” program, where corporate health insurers have established a pattern of overcharging taxpayers.

Today, PNHP is publishing a groundbreaking report—developed by our policy committee and reviewed by independent health policy experts—that quantifies the extent of these overpayments. We estimate that Medicare Advantage plans overcharge taxpayers by a minimum of 22% (or $88 billion) per year, and potentially by up to 35% (or $140 billion) per year.

This is money that can and should be spent on patient care, but is instead lining the pockets of shareholders and executives. By eliminating overpayments in Medicare Advantage, we could make substantial improvements to our existing public health programs.

PNHP’s low-end estimate of $88 billion per year in overcharges would cover dental, vision, and hearing benefits for everybody on Traditional Medicare and for everybody on Medicaid. Our high-end estimate of $140 billion per year would totally eliminate premiums for Medicare Part B.

We’ve known for decades that insurance corporations are overcharging Medicare, but today’s report tells us the glaring extent to which companies like Blue Cross Blue Shield and Cigna are fleecing us.

These groundbreaking findings were also reported on earlier today in The Lever, which quoted PNHP Board Secretary Dr. Ed Weisbart saying, “Insurers are quietly plundering the Medicare trust fund for their own profits and compromising the health of senior citizens and people with disabilities.”

Now that we know the full extent of the problem, it’s time to take action. We can no longer tolerate rampant profiteering in our beloved Medicare program, but in order to push back—and win—we’re going to need your help!

Please share our new report far and wide, and help us raise the alarm about so-called “Medicare Advantage” plans. Together, we can stand up to corporate profiteers and reclaim Medicare as a truly public health program.

In solidarity,

Phil Verhoef, M.D., Ph.D.

Physicians for a National Health Program
29 E Madison St Ste 1412 | Chicago, Illinois 60602
312-782-6006 | info@pnhp.org

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