Medicare

As the co-chair of the House Democratic Caucus on Aging and Families and the former executive director of the Illinois State Council of Senior Citizens, I am committed to protecting and improving Medicare.  I am strongly opposed to efforts to eliminate Medicare’s guarantee by privatizing it, leaving seniors and people with disabilities on their own to deal with private insurance companies, and shifting costs onto the backs of seniors and people with disabilities.

Before Medicare was created in 1965, half of all senior citizens were uninsured.  Today, Medicare provides virtually universal coverage and helps nearly 50 million seniors and persons with disabilities stay healthier and live longer by providing affordable, quality and reliable medical care.  I am proud of the Medicare improvements in Obamacare:  lowering prescription drug costs by closing the gap in benefits (the "donut hole"), expanding access to free preventive services and a new annual wellness exam, and fraud-fighting measures that continue to save billions of dollars.

It is always important that Congress works to eliminate waste, fraud and abuse.  The best way to address rising health care costs is to improve efficiency and accuracy in payments – not increase cost-sharing or reduce reimbursements to providers below reasonable levels. 

During the Obama Administration, we used new tools and stepped up enforcement activities, creating the Health Care Fraud Prevention and Enforcement Team (HEAT) in May 2009, and I am pleased that ObamaCare continues to provide even more tools to fight waste, fraud and abuse.  The anti-fraud provisions include an enhanced background check mechanism to ensure that fraudulent providers are not allowed to “re-up” in Medicare and Medicaid, imposing tougher penalties for those who make false statements or refuse to provide information needed for audits, enhancing the national health care fraud and abuse database, and providing new funding for Medicare and Medicaid Integrity Programs.  Through these efforts, the government saved over $4.1 billion in 2011 alone.

I believe that we can make Medicare even better.  For example, we can do even more to make medications affordable by requiring that Medicare uses its bargaining power to negotiate with drug companies and through the creation of a Medicare-administered drug benefit. 

Resources

National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare

Center for Medicare Advocacy

Medicare Rights Center

American Association of Retired Persons

Alliance for Retired Americans Act

More on Medicare

October 2, 2018 Press Release

Today, Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky (D-IL), a Chief Deputy Whip and Co-Chair of the Seniors Task Force, was joined by Reps. Donald Norcross (D-NJ) and Suzanne Bonamici (D-OR) in reintroducing the Women’s Pension Protection Act. This bill, which was introduced in the Senate by Senator Patty Murray (D-WA), takes necessary and important steps to ensure that women are better prepared for retirement. After the bill’s introduction, the lawmakers released the following statements:

October 2, 2018 Press Release

Today, Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky (D-IL), a Chief Deputy Whip and Co-Chair of the Seniors Task Force, was joined by Reps. Donald Norcross (D-NJ) and Suzanne Bonamici (D-OR) in reintroducing the Women’s Pension Protection Act. This bill, which was introduced in the Senate by Senator Patty Murray (D-WA), takes necessary and important steps to ensure that women are better prepared for retirement. After the bill’s introduction, the lawmakers released the following statements:

December 7, 2017 Video

Paul Ryan, the #GOPTaxScam, and their attacks on Medicare and Medicaid are redefining the word #Chutzpah.

June 28, 2017 Video

My Republican colleagues seem to have a fixation with caps. In their Trumpcare bill, they slash Medicaid and for the first time in its history, cap federal funding. The result: hospital closures, reimbursement and staffing cuts, reduced access and lower quality. Now, they want to impose another cap – a cap on the amount a patient can receive from a medical malpractice lawsuit when they’ve been harmed. I opposed their senseless and awful bill on the House floor today.

Pages