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Foster Votes To Protect Seniors From Increases In Medicare Premiums

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Foster Votes to Protect Seniors From Increases in Medicare Premiums

Today, Rep. Bill Foster (IL-14) voted for the Medicare Premium Fairness Act to protect seniors and those with disabilities from increases in their 2010 Medicare Part B premiums. The bill passed by an overwhelmingly bipartisan vote of 406-18.

"In tough economic times, our seniors are even more dependent on every dollar of their benefits, and many would find it difficult, if not impossible, to afford necessities like food and prescription drugs if their Medicare premiums went up," said Foster.

Because of the recession, there is not likely to be a cost-of-living adjustment for next year's Social Security benefit. Under current law, a majority of seniors would not see a decrease in their Social Security checks if the Part B premium increase is projected to be greater than the increase in Social Security.

However, due to automatic provisions built into current Medicare law, 27 percent of the 42 million people enrolled in Medicare Part B are due to see their premiums rise to between $110 and $120 per month, depending on the income of the beneficiaries. These include low-income individuals who are eligible for Medicare and Medicaid, higher-income Medicare beneficiaries, new Medicare enrollees and enrollees whose Medicare premiums are not deducted from their Social Security checks. The 20 percent increase in premiums would hurt these beneficiaries and would also hurt state budgets, which are obligated to pay premiums for many low-income seniors.

H.R. 3631, the Medicare Premium Fairness Act, would ensure that no Medicare beneficiaries see an increase in their Medicare premiums next year.

"I voted for the Medicare Premium Fairness Act because it makes sure that no senior will face a decrease in their Social Security check due to Medicare Part B premium increases," said Foster. "I am proud to stand up for every senior in my district to ensure that they are treated fairly in tough times."

The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office has estimated that the bill will cost $2.8 billion for 2010. The bill is fully paid for by using funds from the Medicare Improvement Fund, and the Medicare Supplementary Medical Insurance Fund.

This bill has the support of AARP, the National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare, the Center for Medicare Advocacy and the Alliance for Retired Americans.

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