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On Eve of 49th Anniversary of Medicare, Senate Democrats Highlight New Data on Medicare Savings

Press Conference

Location: Washington, DC

Thanks To Affordable Care Act, Seniors Save $11.5 Billion Since 2010 On Prescription Medication

On the eve of the 49th anniversary of the signing of Medicare and Medicaid into law, Senate Democrats hailed new information released today by the Department of Health and Human Services that shows that more than 8.2 million seniors and people with disabilities with Medicare continue to enjoy prescription drug savings as a result of the Affordable Care Act, saving $11.5 billion since 2010.

This news comes on the heels of continued historic low levels of growth in Medicare spending. According to the recent Medicare Trustees report, the life of the Trust Fund has been extended to 2030, up from its projection of 2017 in 2009, and Part B premiums are expected to stay the same rather than increase for the second year in a row. Additionally, a new HHS report found that per capita, Medicare spending growth has averaged 2 percent over 2009 -- 2012, and nearly 0 percent in 2013, one-third of the growth rate over the 2000-2008 period.

"Today's news provides more evidence that the Affordable Care Act is working. By lowering health care costs for seniors across Connecticut, and reducing federal health care spending, the law continues to achieve tremendous results for millions of people who use the Medicare program," said Murphy. "In Connecticut, seniors have saved $154,233,655 on prescription drugs as a result of the Affordable Care Act, and will have access to the program for a longer period of time. Today's data should remind Republicans what they'd be taking away from seniors and families in their efforts to undermine the law. The Affordable Care Act works and it's time we all work together to get Americans the health care they deserve."

"For almost five decades now, Medicare has offered seniors security, peace of mind, and high-quality health care. It's great news that the Affordable Care Act is strengthening Medicare so it can continue to provide that same high-quality care for decades to come," said Stabenow. "In addition to shoring up Medicare's finances for the future, it is helping keep prescription drug costs down for Michigan seniors each and every day. Michigan seniors have already saved more than $420 million on their prescription drugs since 2010, thanks to the Affordable Care Act. These savings will only grow as the notorious "donut hole' is finally eliminated."

"Whether it's the 12 million plus dollars New Yorkers have received in health insurance refunds this summer or the more than 850 million dollars that New York seniors have saved on prescription drugs since 2010, each day more Americans are experiencing the benefits of the Affordable Care Act," said Schumer. "Just as we predicted, the parade of horribles that Republicans trotted out in the fall have failed to materialize. Instead, we have the positive stories of millions of Americans who are benefitting from stable, secure, and affordable health care. It is clear the Affordable Care Act and Medicare are federal programs that are working and will continue to benefit Americans for years to come."

"This data shows that the Affordable Care Act is helping bring down health care costs for our seniors, while also improving efficiency and delivering savings throughout our health care system," said Senator Patty Murray. "I'm proud that in my home state of Washington, the Affordable Care Act helped seniors on Medicare save more than $170 million on prescription drugs. It's clear that reforms in the ACA are making a difference for family budgets and for the federal budget, and we need to build on this progress with more innovation that drives down costs responsibly and improves health care services for families and communities across the country."

"The Medicare donut hole hit seniors hard for years," said Whitehouse. "Now, thanks to the Affordable Care Act, the donut hole is closing and seniors in Rhode Island have saved over $35 million on prescriptions since 2010. The Affordable Care Act is making a big difference to Rhode Island seniors."

"The Affordable Care Act is doing exactly what it was intended to do for our seniors -- providing them with free preventive services, saving them billions of dollars on prescription medicines, and creating a stronger, more viable Medicare program to meet their needs," said Senator Cardin. "Marylanders alone have saved more than $172 million with an average savings of almost $900 per beneficiary. We're cutting costs and spending our health care dollars smarter thanks to the Affordable Care Act."

"It's clear from the numbers today that the facts are stacking up in favor of the Affordable Care Act," Senator King said. "But more importantly, they really stack up in favor of America's seniors and people across the country with disabilities who, thanks to the law, can continue to get affordable prescription drugs. As these numbers show, the Affordable Care Act is making an enormous difference in the lives of people every single day, and rather than waste time and energy trying to roll it and all of its benefits back, we should work together to make it better."

"Thanks to key elements of the Affordable Care Act - including developing innovative payment models that prioritize value over volume -- this year's report shows we are extending the solvency of Medicare while providing better care for beneficiaries," said Kaine. "In Virginia, people with Medicare have saved $254,474,933 on prescription drugs in the Medicare Part D donut hole since the law was enacted, while 918,207 received a free preventive health service. This is real savings and real healthcare coverage that matters for seniors and families across the Commonwealth."

The Affordable Care Act makes Medicare prescription drug coverage more affordable by gradually closing the gap in coverage where beneficiaries had to pay the full cost of their prescriptions out of pocket, before catastrophic coverage took effect. This gap is known as the donut hole.

Since the enactment of the Affordable Care Act, out-of-pocket savings on medications for people with Medicare prescription drug coverage continues to grow. More than 8.2 million seniors and people with disabilities with Medicare have saved over $11.5 billion on prescription drugs since 2010 as a result of discounts in the donut hole and rebates in 2010, for an average of $1,407. These figures are higher than last year at this time when over 6.6 million seniors and people with disabilities with Medicare had saved over $7 billion on prescription drugs averaging $1,061 per beneficiary in donut hole discounts.

Because of the Affordable Care Act, in 2010, anyone with a Medicare prescription drug plan who reached the prescription drug donut hole received a $250 rebate. Beginning in 2011, beneficiaries in the donut hole began receiving discounts on covered brand-name drugs and savings on generic drugs. These savings and Medicare coverage will gradually increase until 2020, when the donut hole will be closed. In 2014, people with a Medicare prescription drug plan who fall into the donut hole will save from discounts and increased coverage in the gap about 53 percent on the cost of brand name drugs and save from increased coverage in the gap about 28 percent on the cost of generic drugs.

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