A pharmacy employee looks for medication as she works to fill a prescription while working at a pharmacy in New YorkThe U.S. government on Friday proposed a cut in payments to private health insurers for 2015 Medicare Advantage plans, a move Republican lawmakers said would hurt benefits for the elderly and disabled. The proposal, released in a document by a division of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, appeared to cut payments by more than the 6 to 7 percent the insurance industry had expected, one Wall Street analyst said. “Now the lobbying begins: can the plans get Congress to help make the cut less severe?” CRT Capital analyst Sheryl Skolnick said, adding that her assessment of the hundreds of pages of information was preliminary. Friday’s notice of proposed rates opens a window for negotiations on the final ruling, due April 7. Insurers and lawmakers have said cuts will mean smaller networks of doctors and hospitals and higher out-of-pocket costs. Insurers have said they could only maintain benefits if there was no change in payments for 2015 from 2014. More