US Rep. John James falsely claims President Biden is cutting a Medicare program - TAI News
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Rep. John James (R-MI) addresses the audience after being sworn into office, Feb. 24, 2023, in Warren, Michigan. (AP Photo/Jose Juarez)

Michigan Republican Rep. John James misleadingly accused President Joe Biden’s administration of cutting a Medicare program and claimed the president is lying to voters.  

“The Biden Admin just announced new cuts to Medicare Advantage. About 26 million seniors are enrolled in these plans and will now have to pay more for their health care as a result of the Biden Admin’s cuts,” James tweeted on April 16. “We must hold Biden accountable for failing our seniors.”

Four days later, he added: “Joe Biden is gaslighting the American people, once again. He lies by accusing Republicans of trying to cut Medicare, hoping that Americans won’t notice that his administration JUST cut Medicare Advantage plans. Because of this, health care costs will skyrocket for our Seniors.”

Medicare Advantage, also called Medicare Part C, is an optional program that lets Medicare recipients get their health insurance coverage through a private plan. Insurance companies agree to follow certain coverage guidelines to receive payments directly from the government. 

Last year, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services announced it would take steps to reclaim Medicare Advantage overpayments to the insurance industry. AHIP, the major trade association for the health insurance sector, and other industry groups opposed those steps, framing them as a cut, even though the agency predicted an overall increase in payments to insurers for 2024.

On April 1, CMS said in a press release that its 2025 reimbursement rates would be lower than the industry had requested and that baseline payments to companies would decrease by about 0.2%, based on new methodology for calculations.. But it noted that the total amount the government paid to insurers would again go up: “Under this CY 2025 Rate Announcement, payments from the government to MA plans are expected to increase on average by 3.70 percent, or over $16 billion, from 2024 to 2025. The federal government is projected to pay between $500 and $600 billion in Medicare Advantage payments to private health plans in 2025.”

James is a member of the Republican Study Committee, a coalition of GOP House members who work to enact right-wing policies. The group released a budget in March that included significant cuts to safety net programs: It would raise the age of eligibility for Social Security, replace the current Medicare system with one that offered only a fixed benefit, and cap Medicaid payments to the states.

About 2.2 million Michiganders receive benefits from Social Security and Medicare, according to federal data, and more than 2.6 million access health insurance through Medicaid.

A James spokesperson did not immediately respond to a request for comment for this story.

James has endorsed former President Donald Trump’s 2024 candidacy for president. Trump proposed Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security cuts in March; his administration had included cuts to all three programs in every one of its budget proposals. 

“So first of all, there is a lot you can do in terms of entitlements, in terms of cutting and in terms of also the theft and the bad management of entitlements, tremendous bad management of entitlements,” the former president told CNBC. “There’s tremendous amounts of things, numbers of things you can do.”

James had previously criticized Trump, saying in 2022: “A man who would suspend the Constitution can’t be trusted. Anyone who will put their egos over people is not fit to lead.”

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