Health insurance reform signed into law last year offers seniors better benefits and lower costs — improving Medicare benefits with lower prescription drug costs for those in the ‘donut hole’ and bringing better chronic care, free preventive care, and nearly a decade more of solvency for Medicare.
One of the immediate benefits of the Affordable Care Act is assistance to seniors with high drug costs. Last year, seniors who fell into the Medicare prescription drug ‘donut hole’ coverage gap received a tax-free $250 rebate check and this year there is a 50% discount on brand-name prescription drugs in the donut hole (the donut hole is completely closed by 2019). While the $250 checks are still in the mail for those who fell into the donut hole in December, it is estimated that about 4 million seniors will receive a rebate check nationwide.
Today, Rep. Rob Andrews (D-NJ) asked House Republicans how the GOP Patients’ Rights Repeal Bill (HR 2) would impact the millions of seniors who have already received $250 rebate checks:
Rep. Andrews did not receive a response.
For America’s seniors, a vote to repeal is a vote to:
Increase drug costs for seniors, by taking away the 50% discount on brand-name drugs, which went into effect on January 1, 2011, for the millions of seniors who enter the Medicare Part D ‘donut hole’ and lose coverage of their drug expenses. Repeal also permanently re-opens the ‘donut hole,’ which reform completely closes by 2020. Repeal would increase the average cost of prescription drugs for these seniors by over $500 in 2011 and by over $3,000 in 2020.
Increase health care costs for seniors, by taking away the new right under Medicare to coverage of life-saving preventive services such as mammograms and colonoscopies with no deductible and no co-payments, as well as the right to a free annual wellness visit, all of which went into effect on January 1, 2011. Repeal of these new Medicare benefits will mean significant costs for many of America’s seniors and less use of these life-saving services.
Weaken the strength and solvency of Medicare. Repeal eliminates reforms that strengthen Medicare and extend the solvency of the Medicare Trust Fund by 12 years – from 2017 to 2029. These reforms strengthen solvency by squeezing waste out of the program and making it more efficient. Under repeal, the Medicare Trust Fund would become insolvent in just six years.