Medicare

As the co-chair of the House Democratic Caucus Seniors Task Force 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:  lower prescription drug costs by closing the gap in benefits (the “donut hole), expanded access to free preventive services and a new annual wellness exam, and fraud-fighting measures that have already saved 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. 

Using new tools, the Obama Administration has stepped up enforcement activities, creating the Health Care Fraud Prevention and Enforcement Team (HEAT) in May 2009, and I am pleased that ObamaCare provides even more tools to fight waste, fraud and abuse.  The new anti-fraud provisions include an enhanced background check mechanism to ensure that fraudulent providers are not allowed to “re-up” in Medicare and Medicaid, to impose tougher penalties for those who make false statements or refuse to provide information needed for audits, to enhance the national health care fraud and abuse database, and to provide 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 use its bargaining power to negotiate with drug companies and through the creation of a Medicare-administered drug benefit. 

Legislation I’ve Introduced

Medicare Prescription Drug Savings and Choice Act – This bill would establish a Medicare-administered Part D drug plan to give seniors and people with disabilities more choices in addition to private insurance-run plans.  Medicare would use its purchasing power to bargain for discounts, as the VA does, and would also provide a transparent, publicly-accountable choice.

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

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    repName Jan Schakowsky  
    helpWithFedAgencyAddress Chicago Office
    5533 N. Broadway
    Chicago, IL 60640
     
    district 9th District of Illinois  
    academyUSCitizenDate July 1, 2017  
    academyAgeDate July 1, 2017  
    academyApplicationDueDate October 20, 2017  
    repStateABBR IL  
    repDistrict 9  
    repState Illinois  
    repDistrictText 9th  
    repPhoto    
    SponsoredBills Sponsored Bills  
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    Chicago, IL 60640
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