Friday, May 20, 2011

Statement by Medicare Rights Center President Joe Baker on the Release of the Medicare Trustees Report

The release of the Medicare Trustees Report today makes clear the importance of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) to the solvency of the Medicare trust fund. The ACA provides added support to Medicare as the economy recovers and contributions to the trust fund begin to increase.

We must remember that preserving Medicare means not only maintaining the solvency of the trust fund, but also maintaining the value of the benefit and the financial and health protections the program provides to the people it serves. Half of people with Medicare live on incomes below $20,000 per year. Proposals such as premium support or spending caps artificially strengthen Medicare’s financial outlook by shifting unaffordable out-of-pocket costs to people with Medicare, leaving access to services in question.

But Medicare is not the problem. The problem is growing costs in the health care sector overall, and shifting costs from one party to another does nothing to address this issue. The ACA achieves savings without cutting benefits or increasing consumer costs, through promoting prevention, paying for quality over quantity, and improving care coordination that can help people with Medicare, including those with multiple chronic conditions, stay healthier. It is solutions like these that we must support to make Medicare stronger.

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