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National Briefing / WASHINGTON, D.C.

Less spent on Medicare benefits

June 26, 2008|From Times Wire Reports

Privately run Medicare Advantage plans spent less than they projected in U.S. bids to provide benefits for Medicare beneficiaries in 2005, collecting $1.14 billion more in profit, the Government Accountability Office reported.

Insurance companies had forecast they would spend 90% of payments from the government on medical services to beneficiaries but actually spent 86%, according to the GAO report, which was released by Rep. Pete Stark (D-Fremont).

Democrats want to reduce payments to Medicare Advantage plans and use the money to prevent a 10% cut in Medicare doctors' fees scheduled for July 1. House Republicans joined Democrats to pass the bill, which the Senate is expected to take up this week.

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