Dems pitch 12%cut to Medicare insurers

Democrats looking for ways to expand children's healthcare funding are considering a new option. A commission that advises Congress, the Medicare Payment Advisory Commission, has suggested that CMS stop paying private insurers more than Medicare spends when it pays for patients directly. Right now, Medicare spends about 12 percent more for Medicare managed care plans than it does when it pays providers itself, a difference of about $65 billion. Among other things, Democratic legislators could potentially use the money to help fund the State Children's Health Insurance Programs expansion U.S. governors are demanding.

Congressional Republicans, meanwhile, are questioning the commission's findings, suggesting that the cuts could shrink the number of insurers willing to participate in Medicare. And insurers, of course, are dead-set against the cuts, arguing that insurers would be forced to trim benefits for the 8 million Americans who participate in Medicare managed care programs.

To get more information on the proposal:
- read this Associated Press article