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February 21, 2014 AT 3:21 PM
Cuts are on the table next year for Medicare Advantage plans, the Obama administration said Friday. The politically dicey move affecting a private insurance alternative highly popular with seniors immediately touched off an election-year fight. The announcement gave new ammunition to Republican critics of President Obama's health care law, while disappointing some Democratic senators who had called on the administration to hold rates steady. Insurers are still hoping to whittle back the cuts or dodge them altogether. Late Friday after financial markets closed, Medicare issued a 148-page assessment of cost factors for the private plans next year.