Press Release             

Contact: Nathan Heggem
Senior Communications and
Policy Associate

July 11, 2011

Statement by Medicare Rights Center President Joe Baker on
President Obama’s Remarks on Deficit Talks

New York, NY –As the President outlined today, only a balanced approach that includes increased revenue can reduce the deficit while protecting programs that serve all Americans, including people with Medicare and their families. Inequitable tax breaks must be ended. 

However, while we must promote the financial health of the Medicare program, we must not do so by increasing the cost of care, and decreasing access to that care, for older and disabled beneficiaries of the program. The House budget resolution would privatize Medicare, ending the program as we know it. But other proposals, such as benefit redesigns, elimination and limitation of Medigap coverage, and increases in premiums and cost-sharing, would shift significant costs to beneficiaries and states and seriously undermine the affordability of health care for our nation’s older Americans and people with disabilities. 

It is the growing costs in the health care sector overall, not just in Medicare and Medicaid, that are the problem. We must augment or expand on initiatives contained in the Affordable Care Act to address health care inflation. Proposals that force more costs on Medicare beneficiaries and their families do not solve any problem; they just kick the financial can down the road and make it harder for people with Medicare to get the care they need.

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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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