Dear Secretary Becerra and Administrator Brooks-LaSure,
Thank you for your efforts to protect Medicare, a program vitally important to the health and economic security of seniors and people with disabilities. We are writing to express our concern about ACO REACH, a pilot program launched by the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation (CMMI) as a rebranding of the controversial Direct Contracting model.
Unfortunately, REACH retains the most dangerous elements of Direct Contracting, and under the guise of promoting equity, provides even more opportunities for middlemen to profit at the expense of beneficiaries and the Medicare Trust Fund. If allowed to continue, REACH would completely transform Traditional Medicare by allowing third-party middlemen to manage seniors’ care, without seniors’ full understanding or consent.
A majority of seniors choose Traditional (fee-for-service) Medicare over Medicare Advantage — the version of Medicare run by commercial insurers — because they value the free choice of health providers and the power to manage their own care. However, millions of seniors who actively chose Traditional Medicare will be automatically enrolled into REACH entities, many of which will likely be run by for-profit businesses, such as commercial insurers, venture capital and private equity investors, and even dialysis centers.