Archive for August, 2011

Raising the Medicare Eligibility Age Will Actually INCREASE Costs

Myths: True v. FalsePolicymakers and pundits continue to propose Medicare changes that would have severe repercussions for beneficiaries and their families. These proposals will continue to make news as deficit discussions heat up.  Too often, however, they are based on false information, which is repeated as fact by the media, pundits and policymakers. We aim to correct public misinformation about Medicare. 

Medicare Works. For 46 years it has opened doors to necessary care  for hundreds of millions of older and disabled people,  and enhanced economic security for beneficiaries and their families.  Informed Americans need to know the truth about the program and the people it serves.

Did you know?

According to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities (www.cbpp.org) that “Raising Medicare’s eligibility age from 65 to 67, which the new Joint Select Committee will likely consider this fall as a deficit-reduction measure, would not only fail to constrain health care costs across the economy; it would increase them.

While this proposal would save the federal government money, it would do so by shifting costs to most of the 65- and 66-year-olds who would lose Medicare coverage, to employers that provide health coverage for their retirees, to Medicare beneficiaries, to younger people who buy insurance through the new health insurance exchanges, and to states.

 

View the full report at:  http://www.cbpp.org/cms/index.cfm?fa=view&id=3564 or http://www.cbpp.org/files/8-23-11health.pdf 7pp.

August 25, 2011 at 3:42 pm Leave a comment

Some Reasonable Ways to Save Medicare Dollars

With lots of attention on the upcoming debt-reduction “Super Committee,” many ideas about saving federal dollars are in the air, not the least of which include restructuring Medicare. Some of these ideas are sound, others are not.  For a discussion of some reasonable ideas about Medicare that will not simply shift more costs to beneficiaries, see this New York Times Op-Ed piece written by Dr. Ezekiel J. Emanuel and Professor Jeffrey B. Liebman. http://www.nytimes.com/2011/08/23/opinion/cut-medicare-help-patients.html?emc=tnt&tntemail1=y

While we disagree that “cutting Medicare” is a foregone conclusion, this article argues for eliminating Medicare coverage for tests, treatments and procedures that don’t work, and states that the Affordable Care Act should be left alone to do its job of producing higher quality, more efficient care.  Across the board cuts aren’t smart, and cost-shifting to beneficiaries – including raising the age of Medicare eligibility –  is not the right approach.  We agree with these points. (IF the necessity for a given procedure and eligibility for coverage is decided based on each individual’s actual circumstances.)

For additional ideas of how to achieve savings in the Medicare program without gouging beneficiaries or backtracking on its promise, see the Center for Medicare Advocacy’s suggested Six Solutions. http://www.medicareadvocacy.org/2011/06/so-what-would-you-do-real-solutions-for-medicare-solvency-and-reducing-the-deficit/

August 23, 2011 at 6:28 pm Leave a comment

We’re Not the Only Ones Saying It: Let ACA Work!

As the Center has written, letting the Affordable Care Act do its job is a key component to reducing rising health care costs.  Lawmakers appointed to the “Super Committee,” tasked with finding $1.5 trillion in deficit-reductions, will be considering various options to meet their budgeting goals. While doing so, we urge them to heed the words of Paul Van de Water of the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, who writes:

“The Affordable Care Act (ACA) holds the potential to vastly improve Medicare’s long-term financial outlook…These reforms will take time to plan, test, and implement.  But they can succeed only if we give them a chance, and that won’t happen if health reform opponents succeed in repealing them.”  (Read the rest of the Van de Water’s blog at: http://www.offthechartsblog.org/the-%E2%80%9Csupercommittee%E2%80%9D-and-medicare/)

Support health care reform and reasoned approaches to our national budget concerns. Let ACA work!

August 22, 2011 at 5:16 pm Leave a comment

Medicare Facts & Fiction: 3 More Lessons to Combat Medicare Spin

Myths: True v. False

Congress continues to propose Medicare changes that will have severe repercussions for beneficiaries and their families. Policymakers and pundits are feeding the media and the public misinformation about Medicare. The truth is, most people with Medicare are low-income and most pay more for health care than other insured Americans.  Nonetheless, Medicare Works. For 46 years it has opened doors to necessary care  for millions of older people,  people with disabilities, and their families.

Did you know?

  • Medicare beneficiaries already spend a disproportionate share of their income on health expenses.  Health expenses accounted for nearly 15% of Medicare household budgets in 2009, on average – three times the percentage of health spending among non-Medicare households (Kaiser Family Foundation Data Spotlight: Health Care on a Budget, June 2011)
    • The financial burden of health care costs is greatest for Medicare beneficiaries ages 85 and older, those in relatively poor health, those with low or modest incomes, and those with Medigap supplemental policies (Kaiser Family Foundation Data Spotlight: How Much Skin in the Game is Enough?, June 2011)
  • Half of all Medicare beneficiaries had incomes below $22,000 in 2010; less than 1% had incomes over $250,000
    • Median per capita income declines with age, and is lower for black, Hispanic, and unmarried Medicare beneficiaries (Kaiser Family Foundation Data Spotlight: Projecting Income and Assets, June 2011)
  • Raising the age of Medicare eligibility to 67, as has been proposed recently, will not produce significant savings: according to the Kaiser Family Foundation, most savings to the Medicare program would be off-set by other federal expenditures, and there would be a net increase in out of pocket costs for those age 65 and 66 who would otherwise have been covered by Medicare (Kaiser Family Foundation, Raising the Age of Medicare Eligibility, July 2011)

Surely there are better ways to save money than by piling more onto an already burdened population?

August 16, 2011 at 7:44 pm Leave a comment

Medicare Facts & Fiction: 3 Quick Lessons to Combat Medicare Spin

Myths: True v. FalseCongress continues to propose Medicare changes that will have severe repercussions for beneficiaries and their families. Policymakers and pundits are feeding the media and the public misinformation about Medicare. The truth is, most people with Medicare are low-income and most pay more for health care than other insured Americans.  Nonetheless, Medicare Works. For 46 years it has opened doors to necessary care  for millions of older people,  people with disabilities, and their families.

Did you know?

  1. The average income of Medicare beneficiaries is less than $22,000 per year.
  2. Medicare beneficiaries already pay more out-of-pocket for health care than people with other health insurance.
  3. Higher income people with Medicare already pay higher premiums for Medicare than other Medicare beneficiaries.

What’s Fair?  Should we tax Millionaires or grandparents?    Millionaires.

August 9, 2011 at 9:01 pm Leave a comment

Center for Medicare Advocacy Recommended as Top-10 Caregiver Resource

Jane Gross, creator of The New York Times‘ “New Old Age” blog, recently highlighted the Center for Medicare Advocacy as a top 10 resource for caregivers in an appearance on “Krista Tippet On Being” on NPR.  The episode, entitled “The Far Shore of Aging” is garnering an overwhelming response from listeners.  See the complete list of resources, and listen to the full show, at http://being.publicradio.org/programs/2011/far-shore-of-aging/gross_topten.shtml.

August 4, 2011 at 3:44 pm Leave a comment


Health Policy Expertise

We provide effective, innovative opportunities to impact federal Medicare and health care policies and legislation in order to advance fair access to Medicare and quality health care.

Judith A. Stein, Executive Director

Contact us by email
for a free consultation,
Or call at (202) 293-5760.
Se habla español
August 2011
M T W T F S S
1234567
891011121314
15161718192021
22232425262728
293031  

Feeds


%d bloggers like this: