FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Mitchell Clark
Senior Communications Associate
March 14, 2013
Statement by Medicare Rights Center President Joe Baker on Senator Patty Murray’s Budget Proposal
New York, NY—The budget released yesterday by Senator Murray offers a balanced approach to promoting economic growth, while reducing the nation’s deficit. The proposal acknowledges the need to secure Medicare savings and aims to do so without harming seniors and people with disabilities. According to the plan, “Rather than shifting the burden of costs onto states, seniors and the most vulnerable, this budget builds on the responsible changes made in the Affordable Care Act with $275 billion in new health savings.”
This credible approach stands in stark contrast to the privatization scheme offered in the House budget released earlier this week, which makes drastic changes to Medicare, inevitability forcing people with Medicare to pay more for less health security. Sizable savings in the Medicare program can be achieved without shifting cost to beneficiaries unable to bear the burden of added costs.
To reach the proposed health care savings target, proposals to eliminate wasteful spending on pharmaceutical drugs, such as restoring Medicare drug rebates, should be adopted and are well-aligned with the framework set forth by the Senate budget proposal. At the same time, greater cost efficiency should be achieved by advancing the delivery system reforms already underway as part of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Congress must focus on updating payment incentives for health care providers to advance historically slow cost growth in Medicare.Proposals that would unfairly redistribute the burden of cost-sharing in Medicare, such as prohibiting first-dollar coverage by Medigap supplemental plans or combining Medicare Part A and Part B deductibles, are not workable tools for promoting the efficient delivery of health care. These concepts must be approached with extreme caution, as added cost-sharing is shown to limit access to needed health care for those who need it most.
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Medicare Rights Center is a national, nonprofit consumer service organization that works to ensure access to affordable health care for older adults and people with disabilities through counseling and advocacy, educational programs, and public policy initiatives.
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