Protect Your Medicare Part D
Medicare Part D, an important source of prescription drug coverage for over 31 million Medicare beneficiaries, is the rare government program that is costing less than projected and exceeding expectations. Thanks to Part D, beneficiaries have more choices and increased access to the medicines they need.
Medicare Part D is working. The use of medicines made available through Part D has proven to keep older Americans healthier. Research shows that Part D beneficiaries are overwhelmingly satisfied with the program. Three out of five Part D beneficiaries say they would not be able to fill all of their prescriptions without Part D.
Part D is saving the entire Medicare system billions of dollars each year. As a result of Part D prescription drug coverage, millions of older Americans are able to afford and have access to the medications they need. This avoids unnecessary complications or costly hospitalizations, creating savings for the system. Further, independent studies confirm that the Part D program promotes competition in the health care marketplace and costs significantly less than originally estimated.
Right now, however, Congress and the White House are considering proposals that would change Medicare, including some that would drastically alter Part D.
One proposal could increase Part D premiums for older Americans by as much as 40 percent, and threatens to make Part D look more like Medicaid. This could result in barriers to access for patients, which is often the case for those who receive drug coverage under Medicaid.
In a nutshell, this change could mean higher out-of-pocket costs for older Americans and could reduce the choices of medicines available to them.
Medicare Part D is a program that works. Tell Congress to leave Part D alone!
Part D is working so well because competition is keeping costs down for beneficiaries. Some elected officials have proposed forcing drug manufacturers to pay new taxes or "rebates" on prescription drugs sold in Medicare Part D. This change could reduce the level of discounts already offered by drug manufacturers and would likely make medicines much more expensive for all Medicare beneficiaries.
The current system works. Competitive negotiations between Medicare insurers and drug manufactures have proven to control drug costs in Part D. According to a 2013 analysis by the bipartisan Congressional Budget Office (which serves as the government's official accountant), Medicare Part D has cost $346 billion (45 percent) less than originally estimated. A government-mandated tax or "rebate" like those in Medicaid would eliminate the competition-based structure that is helping to keep costs down for seniors.
Why Should You Oppose Part D "Rebates"?
OLDER AMERICANS WOULD PAY MORE
In 2013, the average Medicare Part D premium is expected to stay near $30 per month - half the original estimate of the monthly premium. However, experts say that if mandated taxes or "rebates" are applied, Part D premiums are likely to increase for all Medicare beneficiaries by as much as 40 percent - an estimated increase in out-of-pocket costs for all Medicare beneficiaries of $1.5 billion - $3.7 billion.
With other potential cuts to Medicare and Social Security under consideration, older Americans simply cannot afford to pay more. We should not put the burden of balancing the federal budget on those who have already paid their share and can least afford it.
Large increases in Part D premiums are not just bad for those who depend on Medicare; they also negatively affect the "sandwich generation"-- those Americans supporting their own children while caring for their aged parents. This generation of Americans cannot afford yet another financial burden while caring for their parents.
Applying these new taxes or "rebates" to Medicare threatens to turn Part D into a Medicaid-style program. In many states, policies meant to reduce the cost or use of medicines in Medicaid often result in barriers to access for patients, and have been shown to be associated with poor health outcomes for beneficiaries.
AMERICANS LIKE PART D
Medicare Part D gives older American access to prescription drugs at an affordable cost -- and people like it. The most recent study by Medicare Today shows that 90 percent of Americans enrolled in Part D are satisfied with their coverage.
PART D ALREADY REDUCES GOVERNMENT SPENDING
Medicare Part D provides the access to affordable medicines older Americans need and keeps them healthier - which directly reduces costs to the Medicare system. The Journal of the American Medical Association found that improved access and adherence to medicines through Part D saves Medicare about $1,200 in hospital, nursing home, and other costs each year for every Medicare beneficiary. That adds up to about $13 billion in total savings each year.
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