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Coburn and McCaskill Introduce Bipartisan Legislation to Means-Test Medicare Premiums


Location: Washington, DC

Today, U.S. Sens. Tom Coburn, M.D. (R-OK), and Claire McCaskill (D-MO) introduced The Medicare Fair Share Act, a bill that lowers expenditures for Medicare by increasing the premiums wealthier seniors pay for Medicare Part B (physician visits) and Medicare Part D (drug coverage). Currently, seniors with annual income above $85,000 or more pay higher premiums for their Medicare coverage. The Medicare Fair Share Act would create a new income bracket for income-related premiums from $50,000 to 85,000, as well as adjust premiums upward accordingly. Under the Medicare Fair Share Act, wealthier seniors would pay 10 percent more of program costs.

"Lawmakers have a moral duty to work together to save Medicare and make it work for present and future recipients," Dr. Coburn said. "This bill represents one of many commonsense and bipartisan solutions that, even when considered as a stand-alone provision, can be an integral component building towards comprehensive Medicare reform. Seniors currently pay, on average, one dollar into the Medicare program for every three dollars they receive in benefits. This, combined with an aging population, means the status quo of Medicare is heading toward bankruptcy -- jeopardizing the millions of Americans that rely on the program. I am proud to join Senator McCaskill to introduce legislation that sets Medicare on a path towards solvency by increasing the premiums wealthier seniors pay for their Medicare. This concept is supported by both Democrats and Republicans in Congress, as well as the President, and demonstrates Congress can work to confront our health care entitlement crisis."

"Anyone being honest about America's national debt knows that we can't balance the budget through cuts in discretionary spending, or tax hikes, alone," Senator McCaskill said. "We also need to be willing to address the unsustainable growth of our critical social safety net programs, with modest adjustments that won't pull the rug out from under our most vulnerable seniors, but will protect them for our kids and grandkids. Hopefully, this bill can help kick-start that conversation."

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