May 16, 2013
United States House of Representatives
Washington, D.C. 20515
On behalf of the millions of members and supporters of the National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare, I urge you to vote against H.R. 45, legislation which would repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA), when it is considered by the House of Representatives today. Repealing the Affordable Care Act would be harmful to Medicare beneficiaries who are already benefiting from many of its provisions, and it would be harmful to Medicare’s financing. In addition, many older adults not yet eligible for Medicare would lose the ability to purchase affordable private insurance.
The Affordable Care Act includes important provisions already in effect that are improving health care and saving money for millions of Medicare beneficiaries. Improved benefits include the elimination of out-of-pocket costs for preventive screenings and services and for annual wellness visits and personalized prevention plans, as well as discounts on prescription drugs in the Part D coverage gap known as the “donut hole.” The ACA also offers new incentives for providers to coordinate care and to reduce hospital readmissions and infections; initiatives that improve the quality of care provided to beneficiaries and reduce unnecessary spending.
The Affordable Care Act strengthens Medicare’s financing by increasing efforts to reduce waste, fraud and abuse; slowing the rate of increase in payments to providers; and phasing out overpayments to private Medicare Advantage plans, plans that are continuing to increase their enrollments each year. The impact of these provisions has already resulted in extending the solvency of the Medicare Part A Trust Fund by an estimated eight years and lowering Part B out-of-pocket costs for beneficiaries. In 2012, for the first time ever, the Part B deductible decreased from $162 to $140 per year; and the Part B monthly premium of $99.90 is over $6.00 lower than was projected in the 2011 Medicare Trustees Report. The 2013 Part B monthly premium ($104.90) is also lower than previously projected by the Medicare trustees.
In addition to Medicare beneficiaries, the Affordable Care Act is very important to millions of adults ages 50-64 who are uninsured because they do not have access to affordable private insurance. This will change in 2014 when many of these individuals will be able to purchase private insurance even if they have pre-existing medical conditions, and costs will be affordable due to the law’s limits on age rating and the subsidies available for lower-income beneficiaries. Other adults in this older age group will be eligible for Medicaid coverage in states that take advantage of the law’s Medicaid expansion that provides 100 percent federal funding for the first three years and 90 percent when fully phased in. Being able to receive health care services will benefit individuals, and it will reduce costs for Medicare if newly-eligible beneficiaries are healthier when they enter the program.
The Supreme Court’s decision to uphold the Affordable Care Act is a victory for all Americans, especially seniors who are already receiving benefits from the law and older Americans who will gain access to health insurance coverage. The National Committee urges you to support the Affordable Care Act and to vote against legislation to repeal this important law.
President and CEO