Since Medicare Part D went into effect in 2006, prescription drugs have been an integral part of the Medicare benefit package. So, the question of how seniors can save additional money on medications often comes up, but so does the question of how the entire Medicare Part D program can be more cost-effective and save taxpayers money without jeopardizing enrollee benefits.
Today, members of Congress in both the House and the Senate introduced the Medicare Drug Savings Act of 2013, which would restore drug rebates for low-income people with Medicare. President Obama included a similar proposal in his budget last week, and for good reason. Getting Medicare a better price on prescription drugs would save the federal government more than $140 billion without shifting costs to low- and middle-income seniors.
The Department of Health and Human Services announced late last week that 6.3 million Medicare beneficiaries have saved a total of $6.1 billion on their prescription drug coverage since the enactment of Affordable Care Act in 2010.
For the third year in a row, the Republican majority in the House of Representatives has passed a budget proposal authored by Congressman Paul Ryan that transforms Medicare into a voucher system (also known as premium support). Starting in 2024, people born after 1958 would get a voucher to use toward either private insurance or traditional Medicare coverage. If the voucher is too small to buy adequate coverage, those who rely on Medicare will have to make up the difference with money out of their own pockets.
My grandmother likes to complain—her feet hurt, she doesn’t understand the internet, kids these days. But the one thing she never complains about? Medicare.
If you already have Medicare, you know that the coverage is very valuable, but it is far from free health care. Medicare charges substantial premiums, can require you to pay part of the cost of some services, and does not cover a number of other services at all. That’s why many seniors have some kind of supplemental coverage, either from a private Medicare supplement (Medigap) plan or from a former employer.
On Tuesday, Congress passed a deal to avert the “fiscal cliff.” It passed both the Senate and the House with large majorities. The deal did not cut Medicaid or Medicare benefits.
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Explains that cutting health care programs like Medicare and Medicaid will not only hurt seniors, people with disabilities, and low-income families, but it would also negatively affect the economy.
The meaning of the 2012 election results will probably be debated for months, if not years. But a few things are clear. Nearly everyone agrees that President Obama's reelection means that the Affordable Care Act - the 2010 health care law sometimes called Obamacare - will stay in place. And for people with Medicare Part D prescription drug coverage, especially those who use a lot of prescription drugs, that's good news.