Baucus Slams House Vote to End Medicare, Says NOT ON MY WATCH
As Head of Senate Committee that Oversees Medicare, Baucus Vows to Protect Seniors, Military Retirees
Posted: Friday, April 15, 2011
Posted: Friday, April 15, 2011
(Washington, DC) - Montana's senior U.S. Senator Max Baucus blasted the U.S. House of Representatives vote today to end Medicare for Montana seniors and military retirees.
"I won't stand by and let the House end Medicare and hand our seniors' and retired military service members health over to private insurance companies. Our parents, grandparents, and military retirees worked hard all their lives to care for us, and they paid into Medicare to take care of them when they need it most," said Baucus, chair of the Senate Finance committee, which oversees the Medicare program. "We need to reduce our debt by attacking Medicare fraud and cutting insurance profits - not by cutting benefits and shifting costs onto seniors like the House plan does. The House plan means fewer benefits for seniors and military retirees and higher profits for insurance company CEOs. It's wrong, and it won't happen. Not on my watch."
Today, the promise of Medicare guarantees the 167,000 Montana seniors and 30,000 Montana military retirees will always receive coverage for doctors, hospitals, treatments, surgeries and medicines they need. And Medicare gives seniors the security of low cost deductibles and co-pays, for their coverage. The plan the House passed would cut more than $2 trillion in health care benefits, forcing seniors to double what they pay now for care.
Baucus has worked to reduce the deficit and prolong the life of Medicare by cutting inflated insurance company profits without cutting any guaranteed benefits for seniors. The House plan does the opposite by cutting seniors' benefits and giving Medicare dollars to private insurance companies to pay for CEO salaries, profits and advertising.
The House plan would end Medicare by converting it into a "voucher-like" program that gives money for seniors' health care directly to private insurance companies. Under this plan, seniors would have to wade through paperwork and fine print to find a private plan that covers their medical needs. Still, unlike under Medicare, that plan wouldn't guarantee coverage for unforeseen medical conditions seniors could face. If seniors were faced with a condition not covered by their private plan, they would have to pay 100 percent of the cost out of their own pockets. To get coverage equal to the benefits Medicare offers today, seniors would have to pay thousands of dollars more.
Under the House plan, private insurance companies could be allowed to discriminate against seniors with pre-existing medical conditions such as high-blood pressure and diabetes. Insurance companies could charge more for seniors as they grow older and if they develop expensive conditions, including cancer.
As part of the Affordable Care Act, Baucus worked to reduce the debt and strengthen Medicare by cutting huge overpayments to private insurance companies that were threatening Medicare's future. According to Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) data, since the passage of the Affordable Care Act, Medicare Advantage premiums are down by six percent and enrollment in Medicare Advantage is up six percent. At the same time, the CMS Independent Actuary confirms the law prolonged the life of Medicare by at least 12 additional years. The law does so while also providing new benefits for seniors and prohibiting insurers from cutting any Medicare benefits seniors are entitled to under the law.
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