The Trustees’ projection that the Medicare Part A (Hospital) trust fund will become depleted in 2026 (at which time Medicare still could cover 91% of incurred program costs), is not surprising. The depletion date is unchanged from last year’s projection, despite the COVID pandemic. But it is a reminder that Congress must strengthen Medicare’s finances — and tame rising medical costs for America’s seniors.
Soaring health care costs are an albatross for our health care system nationwide. It is more than fair to examine the excessive profit-making strategies of insurers and hospitals in these cost escalations — and to demand that Congress take action to curb them versus cutting Medicare. Medicare has been the leader in reforming the health care payment system to improve efficiency and has outperformed private health insurance in holding down the growth of health costs.
According to the Trustees, standard Medicare premiums will rise to $158.50 per month – a $10 monthly increase. Any increase is a burden to seniors living on fixed incomes, who too often must choose between paying monthly bills or filling prescriptions and getting proper health care. Seniors need relief from rising premiums and skyrocketing out-of-pocket health care costs.
The National Committee supports President Biden’s American Jobs and Families Plan, which would allow Medicare to negotiate drug prices with Medicare, saving beneficiaries more than $100 billion in out-of-pocket costs over ten years. The plan would also add sorely needed dental, vision, and hearing coverage to traditional Medicare, further reducing seniors’ costs and allowing them to access crucial care.
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Walter Gottlieb 202-276-9089