July 26, 2011
The Honorable John A. Boehner
Speaker of the House of Representatives
U.S. Capital H-232
Washington, D.C. 20510
The Honorable Harry Reid
Senate Majority Leader
U.S. Capital S-221
Washington, D.C. 20510
Dear Speaker Boehner and Leader Reid:
The organizations listed below are writing to urge you to reject any extension of Medicare Secondary Payer (MSP) for group health plans for end-stage renal disease (ESRD) if such a proposal is made in debt reduction negotiations. Extending MSP does not improve the health care system or result in savings to it. Rather it shifts costs from the federal government to the private sector at rates that are roughly 300% greater than Medicare rates. Essentially, a $4 billion Medicare savings could increase costs in the private sector by $10.8 billion, based on estimates made of the higher amounts that private health plans must pay for these services. We strongly urge you to reject any MSP extension for group health coverage.
Extending the MSP for ESRD will result in higher health insurance premiums, higher costsharing and more restrictive coverage for employees, retirees, organized labor, state and local governments and employers. At a time when private and public sector employers are struggling to offer health insurance coverage and families are finding it increasingly difficult to afford health insurance premiums, co-pays and deductibles, this policy is ill-advised.
The rationale for the existing MSP rules has not changed; allocation of responsibility for covering individuals with this unique disease should not be changed.
As you seek solutions to reduce the federal deficit we urge Congress to view health proposals through the lens of whether the proposal has the potential to constrain costs for everyone. We urge all Members to support policies that have the potential to achieve savings in all sectors and improve health care quality.
Group health plan sponsors thank you for opposing any shift of Medicare coverage to their employees, members and families.
CC: The Honorable Nancy Pelosi
The Honorable Mitch McConnell
American Benefits Council
Corporate Healthcare Coalition
Deere & Company
Dow Chemical Company
Employers Coalition on Medicare
FirstGroup America, Inc.
H.R. Policy Association
National Association of Health Underwriters
National Business Group on Health
National Coalition on Benefits
Principal Financial Group
Retail Industry Leaders Association
The ERISA Industry Committee
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce