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Republicans defend mailers by insurers

GOP lawmakers lash out at the Obama administration, saying insurance companies have a right to discuss healthcare legislation, including sending mailers to elderly clients saying they could lose benefits.

September 23, 2009|Associated Press

WASHINGTON — Congress' chief budget officer on Tuesday contradicted President Obama's assertion that a healthcare overhaul wouldn't reduce seniors' Medicare benefits.

Douglas Elmendorf, head of the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office, told senators that seniors in Medicare's managed-care plans could see reduced benefits under a bill in the finance committee, which would cut payments to Medicare Advantage plans by more than $100 billion over 10 years.

Federal subsidies to private Medicare plans are more generous than those for fee-for-service coverage. The pending healthcare bills would reduce or eliminate the difference.

In a statement, the White House disputed Elmendorf's conclusion.

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