Politics & Government

Rep. Vern Buchanan's bill to protect Medicare Advantage plans passes US House

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- The U.S. House of Representatives unanimously approved legislation by Rep. Vern Buchanan, R-Sarasota, Wednesday night that will preserve Medicare Advantage coverage for seniors.

The Securing Seniors' Health Care Act of 2015 prevents the termination of Medicare Advantage plans, which primarily serve low-income seniors who are in poor health, according to a release from Buchanan's office. Medicare Advantage plans serve 58,000 seniors in Buchanan's district, which covers the Manatee-Sarasota areas, 10,000 of whom would be at risk for losing their coverage without Buchanan's legislation.

The Obama Administration has threatened to unilaterally terminate Medicare Advantage plans, which are unable to meet the complex demands of the current Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services' five-star rating system, Buchanan's office said.

“Protecting seniors in Sarasota and Manatee Counties has and will always remain my top priority,” Buchanan said. “Passage of this bipartisan measure will help ensure that seniors are able to keep the health care and benefits they choose because the plans fit their needs.”

The legislation now moves to the Senate for consideration.