March 21, 2013
The Honorable Debbie Stabenow
United States Senate
133 Hart Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20510
Dear Senator Stabenow:
On behalf of the millions of members and supporters of the National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare, I am writing to thank you for introducing an amendment to S. Con. Res. 8, the Senate Budget Resolution for Fiscal Year 2014, which would prohibit the privatization of Medicare.
It is my understanding that your amendment would protect Medicare’s guaranteed benefits and prohibit Medicare vouchers – two top priorities for the National Committee, our members and a large majority of the American people. We know that even with Medicare’s guaranteed benefits, beneficiaries already have high out-of-pocket costs for premiums, deductibles and copayments, as well as for health care services not covered by Medicare. They cannot afford to have their benefits reduced or to pay more for private insurance.
We are opposed to a voucher plan, such as the one included in the House Budget Resolution introduced by Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (D-WI), which would privatize Medicare and achieve savings by shifting costs to Medicare beneficiaries. Under this plan, beginning in 2024, beneficiaries would be required to purchase private health insurance or traditional Medicare with a premium support payment that likely would not keep up with health care inflation. This means beneficiaries would be subject to additional out-of-pocket costs because the amount the federal government provides for their voucher would be limited, and they may not be able to afford a plan that includes their trusted doctors. Older and sicker beneficiaries, who are most likely to remain in traditional Medicare, could lead to higher premiums that they would not be able to pay, resulting in a death spiral for traditional Medicare. This would adversely impact people who are already age 55 and older.
We urge all Senators to support your amendment to preserve Medicare as a program of guaranteed health benefits that are so important for economic security for older Americans and beneficiaries who are disabled.
President & CEO