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Health Insurance Reform Daily Mythbuster: 'Democrats' Health Reform Bill Will Harm Seniors'

Health insurance reform opponents continue to spread myths about America's Affordable Health Choices Act, including the outrageous myth that the House bill will harm America's seniors, cutting their Medicare benefits.  America's Affordable Health Choices Act will actually improve Medicare for seniors - targeting waste, fraud, and inefficiency - and reinvesting many of the savings achieved into better benefits.
 
MYTH: The Democrats' health insurance reform bill will harm America's seniors - cutting their Medicare benefits and the quality of services they receive under Medicare.

FACT:  The House bill includes provisions to make U.S. taxpayer dollars go further by targeting inefficiency, waste, and fraud in Medicare.  None of the provisions cut basic Medicare benefits.  Rather than weakening the Medicare program, these provisions will improve value for seniors and strengthen Medicare's financial footing - extending the life of the Medicare Trust Fund by five years.  In addition, many of the Medicare savings achieved are reinvested into improving Medicare - including helping close the donut hole in the Medicare prescription drug benefit.

Currently, at least 5 percent of Medicare spending goes to waste, fraud and inefficiency  This waste is driving up seniors' health care costs and threatening Medicare's long-term security - so it is this 5 percent that is targeted for elimination in the House health insurance reform bill.  The Medicare savings in this bill are simply about a 5 percent reduction overall in what Medicare is expected to spend over the next 10 years.

America's Affordable Health Choices Act protects seniors by improving Medicare benefits across the board and strengthening the fiscal stability of Medicare over the long term. 

Under the bill, many of the savings achieved by going after waste and inefficiencies in Medicare are reinvested in a broad range of provisions to make Medicare work even better for America's seniors, as summarized below.

BETTER BENEFITS:

  • Lowers drug costs by gradually closing the “donut hole” for prescription drug reimbursement
  • Computerizes medical records so seniors won't have to take the same test over and over or relay their entire medical history every time they see a new provider
  • Ensures free preventative care - eliminating copayments - and better primary care
  • Improves low-income subsidy programs, including under the part D program, to help ensure Medicare is affordable for those with low and modest incomes.

GUARANTEED ACCESS TO YOUR DOCTOR:

  • Eliminates the 21 percent pay cut your doctor was facing for Medicare reimbursements, ensuring these doctors will still be able to care for seniors - especially in rural areas.
  • Expands the medical workforce so seniors will have more doctors to choose from and an easier time getting an appointment.

STRENGTHENED FINANCIAL STABILITY OF MEDICARE

  • Extends the solvency of the Medicare Trust Fund by five years.
  • Cuts waste, fraud and abuse in Medicare and reinvests those savings in benefit improvements.
  • Focuses health care dollars on care and benefits, instead of overpayments to private insurance companies.

Download a Guide for Seniors on Health Insurance Reform>>