In the waning days of the Trump Administration, the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation (CMMI) launched a pilot program called Medicare Direct Contracting. This under-the-radar program invited third-party middlemen to “manage” the care of Traditional Medicare beneficiaries. It also created a financial incentive for these middlemen to frustrate patients and deny medically necessary care.
Thanks to the efforts of thousands of activists, Direct Contracting became thoroughly discredited and the Biden Administration was pressured to address the program. Their initial response was to simply rebrand Direct Contracting as Medicare REACH, a program that retained the worst elements of its predecessor and in some cases is even more generous to industry. But the coalition to protect Medicare wasn’t fooled by this approach. We continued to demand an end to corporate profiteering.
Dr. Ed Weisbart announces a major victory against REACH
The current state of the REACH program
In early 2022, CMMI Director Liz Fowler announced that the Biden Administration had “no plans to open up another application period” for REACH. She added that “there will not be any more than 132 organizations in the model, and most likely no more than 2.1 million beneficiaries.”
These enrollment numbers fall well short of the administration’s publicly stated goal of moving all 36 million Traditional Medicare beneficiaries into a so-called “value-based” program like REACH by 2030. We should celebrate this victory, while also working to fully end the program before it sunsets in 2026, for the sake of those seniors currently caught in its web.
We should also broaden our campaign against Medicare privatization to include dangerous programs like Medicare Advantage, and with an eye towards whatever other pilot programs CMMI may be developing to disrupt Traditional Medicare.
Learn more about Direct Contracting and REACH
See below for information about the Direct Contracting and REACH campaign, mostly from the fall 2021 – spring 2023 time period.
What is REACH?
Take Action on REACH
- Contact your representative
- Write an op-ed of LTE
- Share on social media
- Sign our petition
- Sign up allied organizations
Watch our Livestreams
Ready to take action? Sign our petition demanding a full end to Medicare REACH. You may also wish to call your member of Congress at (202) 224-3121. And be sure to let your friends, colleagues, and family members know about the many threats to Traditional Medicare. Questions? Email firstname.lastname@example.org.