Forum, not politics, required for Medicare

The choice of a Medicare program, that is the choice between Traditional Medicare or Medicare Advantage, is one of the most important health care decisions each Medicare-eligible individual makes. Traditional Medicare and Medicare Advantage are both rich in benefits. At the same time, the choice between the two is fraught with complexity.

Therefore, it is the responsibility of any who attempt to inform and even more so attempt to advocate for Traditional Medicare or for Medicare Advantage to get the facts right, to scrupulously avoid errors of commission and omission. It is also the responsibility of the Rappahannock News to thoroughly vet, before publication, information that affects health care decisions (Commentary, “Seniors deserve straight scoop on Medicare,” Dec. 20).

It is not the purpose of this letter to point out that in comparing Traditional Medicare with Medicare Advantage, “Seniors Deserve Straight Scoop on Medicare” contains errors of commission and omission with respect to access to physicians and hospitals, authorization of procedures and medications, appeal of coverage limits and claims denials, and availability of meaningful (not just “extra goodies”) supplemental benefits.

It is the purpose of this letter to state in the strongest terms that the best possible choice for each individual between Traditional Medicare or Medicare Advantage requires far more than wifi and a website, especially any website whose information might bear the taint of political agenda. Let us start by offering Rappahannock residents an annual forum on Medicare whose purpose is to broaden awareness of the differences between Traditional Medicare and Medicare Advantage. Let us assemble knowledgeable speakers, hear their presentations and then, as we look each presenter in the eye, ask questions whose answers really matter to your health and the health of your loved ones.

Thomas G. Storch, MD

Editor’s note: In recent years, the writer’s medical work has focused on auditing Traditional Medicare and Medicare Advantage for The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, Department of Health and Human Services.

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