Advocacy / AMAC Action On Capitol Hill

AMAC Stays Active on Capitol Hill

andrew-mangioneby Andrew Mangione – As the preeminent watchdog for Mature Americans, AMAC keeps a constant eye on Capitol Hill – ready to alert members to late-breaking political news and information. This week, AMAC is pleased to report a recent uptick in congressional hearings on Medicare, signaling that lawmakers are serious about exploring new avenues for reform in order to guarantee extended access to the program’s benefits, on which millions of beneficiaries depend.

On Tuesday, the Health Subcommittee of the House Ways and Means Committee held a hearing on “the President’s and Other Bipartisan Proposals to Reform Medicare.” Members of the subcommittee engaged in a robust dialogue with three expert witnesses, each representing credible think tanks and non-profits dedicated to producing sound policy recommendations for the future of Medicare. The witnesses focused their testimonies on the primary reforms offered in President Obama’s budget: the increase in premiums according to the income level of the beneficiary, the increase in the Part B deductible, and the institution a copayment for home health care.

Though $54 million is projected to be saved over the next decade if the President’s reforms are adopted, the expert witnesses and actuaries of the Medicare Trust Fund agree that these reforms do not go far enough to secure the solvency of Medicare. Witness Joe Baker – President of the Medicare Rights Center – warned that some of Obama’s proposals could even indivertibly add to the burden of rising health care costs on Mature Americans. In particular, the President’s plan “requires a larger portion of the Medicare population to pay higher premiums,” a cost many Medicare beneficiaries cannot afford to absorb.[1]

“The president is looking for more federal revenue, and his plan doesn’t solve the underlying problem of rising health care costs or the insolvency of Medicare,” according to Baker.[2] “[Obama’s] proposal to raise premiums would strap middle-income beneficiaries the most.” In his testimony, Baker argued that the government should not be shifting costs to people with Medicare – “an approach that yields only short-term and harmful savings.”[3] Instead, Baker urged Congress to “focus its attention on reforms that diminish wasteful Medicare spending and continue to encourage the transformation of our health care system from one that rewards high volume care to one that rewards high value care.”[4]

Dr. Alice Rivlin – Senior Fellow of Economic Studies at the Brookings Institution – agreed that Congress should seize the present opportunity to transform the way in which health care is delivered in America by transitioning away from Medicare’s traditional fee-for-service (FFS) and implementing reforms to achieve care that is “high quality and coordinated” – an idea that is gaining traction in Congress.[5]

“We owe it to seniors to pursue these critical goals to improve Medicare and make it solvent,” says Health Subcommittee Chairman Kevin Brady. With 8,000 baby boomers aging into retirement every day, the threat of insolvency facing Medicare has become increasingly more urgent. AMAC is pleased to see ongoing dialogue in Congress focused on reforming Medicare in a responsible manner, recognizing the high stakes involved for seniors. And, AMAC will continue to expand its presence on the Hill, fighting to ensure that critical programs are solvent, secure and sustainable for Mature Americans.

 

[1] Baker, Joe, “Oral Testimony,” United States House of Representatives Committee on Ways and Means: Subcommittee on Health, May 21, 2013.

[2] Ibid.

[3] Ibid.

[4] Ibid.

[5] Rivlin, Dr. Alice M, “Written Testimony,” United States House of Representatives Committee on Ways and Means: Subcomittee on Health,” May 21, 2013, pg 3, http://waysandmeans.house.gov/uploadedfiles/rivlin_testimony_ final_hl_052113.pdf.

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Vivien
8 years ago

Greetings, I signed up with you about two months ago, my check has gone through but I have yet to receive any kind of notification from you……… No membership, no card no nothing. what’s the story?

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