MIAMI (CBS4) – A handful of senior citizens met with Governor Rick Scott Wednesday morning to talk about their Medicare Advantage programs. A government subsidized health program run by private insurance companies that is seeing a surge in enrollment.
The seniors’ chief complaint is that their prescription drug costs are going up.
“Any penny you have to pay in the pharmacy is money that you don’t have,” Margarita Satud told the governor.
Aida Montagudo blames the government for the rising prices.
“We need you to talk to the President about our problem,”she told Governor Scott.
Governor Scott said the Affordable Care Act is devastating the program- which nearly a million and a half Floridians rely on.
“Now we’re seeing these Medicare Advantage cuts, we saw 6 percent this year and we’re talking to some of these insurance companies that are saying even though Washington is saying there’s no cuts, Humana for example is saying there’s really a 3 percent cut.”
And Governor Scott has run political ads along those lines saying the President is slashing Medicare.
But the agency that runs Medicare says the program is not seeing cuts and it has scaled back planned cuts to Medicare Advantage.
The Democratic Party of Florida put out a press release in response to the ad. It reads in part, “The fact is that Medicare Advantage was supposed to save taxpayers money and now it’s costing them more than classic Medicare.”
Governor Scott’s ad also says because of the Affordable Care Act, insurance provider Florida Blue notified 300,000 people they would lose their health coverage.
But Florida Blue’s parent company, Blue Cross Blue Shield told CBS4 news partnerthe Miami Herald that is not true. They say only 40,000 notices went out last fall advising members that they would be moved to a different plan. Then they sent follow up notices informing them that their plans would remain unchanged through 2014.
Still the Governor insisted that is ad was accurate.
“300,000 individuals were told they’re going to lose their insurance,” Scott told the reporters questioning him. He then continued, “If you look around the state Obamacare has had an impact on a lot of people’s plans, who are losing their doctors and losing their plans.”
The Governor then chose not to take any follow up questions and was quickly ushered away by his media relations aide.
As for the seniors the governor met with, they told CBS4’s Natalia Zea that they hope the meeting with the governor was productive- and no matter whose fault it is that their prescription drug costs are going up, they hope they will come back down, and soon.