As a strong advocate for affordable health care options for all Americans, I believe that our seniors must be cared for. Last week, news from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) confirmed that the Affordable Care Act is saving money for millions of seniors and people with disabilities who are enrolled in Medicare. So far, over 18.9 million people enrolled in Medicare have used preventive services at no cost. Many of these services will help prevent chronic diseases that can cost Medicare billions to treat. Also, thanks to the Affordable Care Act, more Americans on Medicare are getting help with their prescription drugs -- nearly 1.3 million people have received a 50 percent discount on their brand name prescription drugs when they hit the donut hole, saving a total of $660 million so far this year.
I adamantly oppose reductions in funding for programs that affect seniors' access to healthcare.
In working to focus spending priorities on access to quality care and not the expansion of drug companies' profits, people who now hit the coverage gap (known as the "donut hole") are now being relieved. According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS):
* 1.28 million Have received discounts on brand-name drugs this year through the end of July; including 119,229 Californians.
* This year, discounts have totaled $660 million in savings for seniors and people with disabilities.
* Individuals who have received this discount saved an average of $517 so far this year.
For more information about how the Affordable Care Act closes the donut hole over time, please visit: http://www.medicare.gov/Publications/Pubs/pdf/11493.pdf
Thanks to healthcare reform, more seniors are also taking advantage of preventive services, most of which are available at no cost. Under the Affordable Care Act, people with Medicare can receive recommended preventive benefits and a new Annual Wellness Visit without paying a co-payment or any cost-sharing. According to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services:
* 18.9 million People with Medicare, or 55.6 percent of those enrolled in the program, have received one or more free preventive services this year. Over 1.5 million Californians are beneficiaries of such preventative services.
* During the same time period, 1.29 million Americans with Medicare have taken advantage of the new Annual Wellness Visit.
I believe that Medicare should not be privatized and I will continue to work towards protecting benefits, including prescription drug coverage for all recipients. In expanding these health care services, we as a nation are moving towards providing more affordable health care options for all Americans.
JOE BACA, Congressman
43rd Congressional District