Friday, July 30, marked the 45th anniversary of the enactment of Medicare. The program was established when President Johnson signed the Social Security Amendments of 1965 into law. This law has forever changed the way seniors and people with disabilities receive their health care. Millions of seniors have come to rely on the Medicare program to provide them with affordable, quality, and reliable health coverage—it is one of the most popular and effective programs among the populations it serves.
Some of you may know TV legend Andy Griffith by his work, and some of you may have just heard about him through your parents. He was known as the ornery old lawyer on Matlock and was probably most popular as the wise sheriff of the fictional town Mayberry on the Andy Griffith Show in the late 1960s. Now, 50 years later, he’s back and just like the old times, he’s offering sage advice to the American public.
Dr. Donald Berwick was sworn in today as the new Administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). Without a leader since 2006, the appointment of Dr. Berwick is a long-awaited addition to the federal agency. Dr. Berwick is widely known as a pioneer in the field of health care quality. The American Medical Association announced its support for Berwick weeks ago, stating,
One of the most popular arguments of opponents of the health reform law is that the law does nothing to ‘fix’ Medicare, which they claim is full of waste and fraud. Like most of the rhetoric coming from the opposition, this argument is just not true.
Today, President Obama and Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius joined in on a national conference to talk about how health reform will affect seniors. People at dozens of viewing parties around the country tuned in to find out more about what’s in the new law and how generations to come will have the safety and security of having access to quality, affordable health care during retirement.
The words “doughnut hole” may summon thoughts of a delicious treat to someone under the age of 10, but for people with Medicare those same words represent something scary.
But how can doughnut holes be scary? In our health care system, when seniors and people with disabilities sign up for prescription drug benefits through Medicare Part D, there is a coverage gap that often results in elderly and disabled Americans paying way more than they can afford for prescription drugs. We call this the “doughnut hole.”
Seniors were often the main target of opponents of the now-passed health reform law. Whether it was “death panels,” fears of rationing, or spreading misinformation about the changes to Medicare Advantage, those over 65 were the subjected to blatant lies and deception. Now that the new law is being implemented, it’s time for the political rhetoric to be set aside and replaced with facts about how this historic legislation will affect the elderly.
The health reform debate produced a lot of misinformation about how the health reform bill would change Medicare. Much of it focused on false claims of cuts to benefits, the infamous death panels, or hurting granny. Now that the reform bill has been signed by President Obama, it's time to set the record straight on how reform will really affect Medicare and its beneficiaries.
If you watch the news on TV or read a newspaper, you know that a lot of Americans are nervous about health reform. One recent poll, conducted by Ipsos-McClatchey on February 26-28, found that 41% of Americans favor reform, while 47% oppose. And that's in line with what the media have been telling us, isn't it?
The beltway has been abuzz ever since President Obama announced he plans to hold a Health Care Summit between key Congressional leaders. Will Republicans attend? Will President Obama provide a health reform proposal? Will the Republicans provide their own proposal? If they do provide a proposal, will meet the criteria of meaningful health reform?