How does Obamacare affect Medicare recipients?

The Romney-Ryan campaign is out with an ad saying that Obama cut Medicare by over $700 billion and this hurts Medicare recipients.

How did Obamacare affect Medicare recipients?

Obamacare increased benefits for Medicare recipients.

1. The so-called donut hole for prescription drugs has been reduced and will be completely closed in 2020.  As Jonathan Cohn notes, “In the first half of this year, according to the Department of Health and Human Services, more than a million seniors have saved an average of $629 on their drug bills because of this assistance.”

2. As the AARP characterizes it, Obamacare “strengthens Medicare” with the following:

• If you have Medicare, you qualify for a new annual wellness visit, mammograms and other screenings for cancer and diabetes — important preventive care at no charge.

• Medicare Advantage plans that give better quality care receive additional bonus payments.

• Plans must use some of this bonus money to offer you added health benefits.

• New rules stop Medicare Advantage plans from charging people more than Original Medicare pays for certain services. These services include chemotherapy administration, renal dialysis and skilled nursing care.

• The law cracks down on waste, fraud and abuse in Medicare and the health care system as a whole.

• To guard against medical identity theft, the law also protects the privacy of your personal information.

Improves long-term care services and information

• You have more information about nursing home inspections, complaints against facilities and consumer rights. This information will help you make decisions when selecting a nursing home.

• Your state may receive more funds to expand home- and community-based services. For example, under the Community First Choice Option, participating states get more federal dollars to provide home- and community-based services to people with disabilities who live at home but need a higher level of care.

3. Moreover, when it comes to the long-term finances of Medicare, Obamacare increases its financial health, extending the trust fund’s full funding another eight years. The decrease in the rate of funding growth under Obamacare identified by Romney does not and will not reduce benefits.

In fact, there are greater benefits, while it costs less overall and extends the health of the program.

Amy Fried

About Amy Fried

Amy Fried loves Maine's sense of community and the wonderful mix of culture and outdoor recreation. She loves politics in three ways: as an analytical political scientist, a devoted political junkie and a citizen who believes politics matters for people's lives. Fried is Professor of Political Science at the University of Maine. Her views do not reflect those of her employer or any group to which she belongs.