For the past few months, the super committee has been working to find agreement about how to further reduce the deficit. The goal of the bipartisan 12-member committee was to develop a plan to cut the deficit by an additional $1.2 trillion to $1.5 trillion (on top of an already agreed to cut of $900 billion) over the next 10 years. The super committee was allowed to consider any methods of reducing the deficit, including cutting vital programs like Medicaid and Medicare.
November is National Caregivers Month—a time to recognize and celebrate caregivers for their important role in our lives. There are professional caregivers, but there are also about 52 million unpaid caregivers—spouses, mothers, fathers, sons, daughters, and others who take care of loved ones in the home.
This past August, my husband, Don, brought home bad news—the company he worked for was closing. We would have to rethink our plans for health care coverage.
We had a similar conversation last year when Don was considering retiring early because the social security checks would actually be more than his income at the call center. By that time, I had been on Medicare for a few years, but I was still relying on Don’s company to cover my prescription costs. So I rushed to sign up for a Medicare plan during the open enrollment period last year.
For Medicare beneficiaries, there was a host of good news from the federal government last week.
According to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), premiums for prescription drug coverage will not rise in 2012, more seniors are now receiving preventive care thanks to the Affordable Care Act, and beneficiaries who have reached the doughnut hole are receiving a 50% discount on prescription drugs.
In 1966, Lyndon Johnson was president. The Beatles were at the top of the charts. The Civil Rights Movement marched on, and the U.S. involvement in the Vietnam War deepened.
The country was different then. The population was smaller and, on average, younger. Life expectancy was seven years shorter. And if you were old, you were more likely to be poor. Health care was less expensive, but many of today's most beneficial treatments, surgeries, and prescription drugs for a variety of diseases had not yet been developed.
Did you know that if you have Medicare, you are now entitled to many preventive screenings and yearly wellness visits with your doctor at no cost to you? That's right. Medicare beneficiaries can now get free screenings for conditions such as cancer and diabetes, as well as free annual check-ups, all thanks to the Affordable Care Act.
These preventive services are designed to ensure early diagnosis and treatment for many chronic conditions, which will improve the health of many Americans and also save money. It's a win-win situation for Medicare beneficiaries.
Hundreds of thousands of older Americans breathed a sigh of relief this year, and millions more will in the next few years. The “doughnut hole,” a gap in Medicare coverage of prescription drugs, has caused so many older Americans pain. But now, it is finally closing, thanks to health reform and the Affordable Care Act.
This blog was also featured in GRAND Magazine. To learn more about the magazine and get 12 issues free click here.
House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) made his views on the recently released House budget resolution clear on Fox News Sunday when he said, “We are in a situation where we have a safety net in place in this country for people who frankly don’t need one.”
Health reform has failed to be the “Armageddon” that conservatives predicted, and not a single “death panel” has appeared. Since the passage of health reform, we’ve seen that not only have these predictions not come true, but things are looking better than ever for grandma and her friends.