For more than 45 years, Medicare has offered important health benefits for senior citizens and people with disabilities and has safeguarded financial stability for them and their families. The Affordable Care Act builds on the program’s strengths by investing in Medicare’s future, improving benefits, reducing costs for beneficiaries, and getting a better deal for taxpayers.  

In the 113th Congress Democrats will continue to oppose the Republican plan that calls for an end to the Medicare guarantee. The Republican proposal will ration care by turning Medicare beneficiaries over to private insurers with no guarantee of a defined benefit package and will drastically increase beneficiary costs. According to the Congressional Budget Office, the Republican budget would dramatically cut spending on Medicare for new beneficiaries by more than $2,200 per person per year, starting in 2030, and by $8,000 in 2050. While the Ryan budget may reduce government spending on Medicare, that cost would be directly shifted to beneficiaries, imposing a new and large cost burden on seniors and individuals with disabilities. 

Medicare & The Affordable Care Act 

The Affordable Care Act lowers costs to Medicare beneficiaries and improves benefits. Thanks to Medicare payment reforms and efforts to eliminate waste and fraud, beneficiaries will save on average almost $200 on their annual Part B premiums by 2019. Cost-sharing will also go down by more than $200 by 2019. 

Fixing the ‘donut hole’ created by Republicans, where coverage lapses just as needs increase, was a key improvement of the Affordable Care Act. We offered immediate assistance with drug costs by providing $250 to 3.3 million people who entered the donut hole. This year seniors who hit the donut hole will save an average of $500 because of the discount.  By 2020, the donut hole will close completely and coverage will be the same throughout the benefit.

Additionally, seniors will reap further savings due to the elimination of cost-sharing for most preventive services and the creation of a new annual physical benefit for those who choose to use it.

The Affordable Care Act significantly strengthens Medicare’s financial footing. The Affordable Care Act extends solvency of the Medicare Trust Fund by 12 years – making the program solvent until 2029.

The Affordable Care Act modernizes the Medicare program.  The Act contains an array of delivery system reforms, like medical homes and Accountable Care Organizations, to ensure that the program rewards value over volume and provides the right care to the right patient at the right time. In fact, health policy experts – as well as more than 270 leading economists – agree that the Affordable Care Act creates a more disciplined and effective health care system. 

The Affordable Care Act includes tough new fraud-fighting tools that are projected to save taxpayers approximately $5 billion in Medicare savings over ten years. The law empowers CMS to stop fraud before it happens and hold providers accountable by expanding provider screening measures and increasing penalties for those engaging in fraudulent activities. 

Additional resources: