Democrats complain about Medicare handbook

Oct. 30, 2006 at 9:46 AM

WASHINGTON, Oct. 30 (UPI) -- Congressional Democrats in Washington are criticizing a new Medicare handbook they feel is weighted toward private insurance plans.

In a letter to the secretary of Health and Human Services, six lawmakers charge the 2007 version of the handbook being sent to all Medicare beneficiaries "presents a misleading and biased view" of Medicare coverage and options, The New York Times reported.

"The 2007 handbook strongly favors health maintenance organizations, preferred provider organizations and other private Medicare Advantage plans over the traditional Medicare fee-for-service program," the letter to HHS Secretary Michael Leavitt said.

It is signed by U.S. Sens. Max Baucus of Montana and John D. Rockefeller IV of West Virginia, and U.S. Reps. Sherrod Brown of Ohio, John D. Dingell of Michigan, Charles B. Rangel of New York and Pete Stark of California.

Concerns of the lawmakers are said to carry more weight because they are the senior Democrats on congressional committees and subcommittees with authority over Medicare, the Times said.

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