At a Senate Special Committee on Aging hearing held on July 18, Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services’ Director of the Medicare-Medicaid Coordination Office Melanie Bella said that the agency is capable of handling a demonstration project that seeks to better coordinate care for individuals who are dually eligible for Medicare and Medicaid.
Some stakeholders and lawmakers have expressed concern that the program, which will allow enrollment of up to two million beneficiaries, is too large and unwieldy for CMS to effectively oversee. Bella assured Senators that the high target-enrollment is necessary for CMS to gather enough data to determine if the demo is effective in changing the delivery of care to the population affected. She said that applications will be reviewed carefully to ensure the proposals meet the program criteria and that not all of the 26 states that have applied may be approved for participation in the demonstration.
In response to the hearing, the American Health Care Association issued a statement urging Congress to reject CMS' proposals because of the concern that the structure of the demonstration might disrupt care for dual eligibles. Other critics of the demonstration include Senator John Rockefeller (D-WV), who wrote a letter last week urging a halt to the program while it can be retooled, and MedPAC, which also wrote a letter outlining its concerns over the program.