Medicare guarantees access to health care for older adults and people with disabilities. Together with the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and Medicaid, Medicare builds health security for Americans of all ages. Any changes to Medicare must aim for healthier people, better care, and smarter spending—not paying more for less.
Medicare is important and popular.
57 million Americans rely on Medicare for health
More than 95% of Americans consider Medicare
an important program.
Around 90% of Americans want federal Medicare
spending to stay the same or increase.
Around 85% of Americans want Medicare to
negotiate drug prices.
People with Medicare: Arthur
“When I was young, my grandmother lived with
my family. I was a teenager when Medicare
became law, and I remember the day my
grandmother received her first Medicare card. It
was a momentous occasion in my household,
because up until then, my parents were paying
for all of my grandmother’s health bills for
doctor’s visits, procedures, prescriptions—for
After my grandmother became eligible for
Medicare, my family was financially able to buy
our first car. And being a 17-year-old who
passed driver’s education, I could drive it.
Having that car helped me juggle work, school,
and eventually college. Medicare did more than
provide for my grandmother’s care—it allowed
my parents to become more financially secure
and helped me on a path towards a brighter
People with Medicare: Edward
Edward called the Medicare Rights Center helpline
frightened that proposals to change Medicare
would end his life as he knows it. Edward explained
that he is able to live independently because he
has Medicare. Although he has many chronic
conditions, like hearing loss, heart disease, and
arthritis, Edward values his independence and his
ability to live at home, in his community.
Last year, Edward was hospitalized for 10 days with
a life-threatening condition. After the hospital, he
stayed in a Skilled Nursing Facility that stabilized
him while he received physical therapy and
treatments. Today—because of Medicare—
Edward is at home. He is walking, can go grocery
shopping with some help, and is otherwise able to
manage his own affairs.
Medicare protects health and economic
Most people with Medicare have modest incomes. Half of all people with Medicare live on annual incomes of $24,150 or less. People of color live on even less: $16,150 per year for black beneficiaries and just $12,800 per year for Hispanics.
People with Medicare already pay a significant amount toward health care. In 2012, they paid 14% of household expenses toward health care costs, nearly three times as much as those not yet on Medicare.
Most people with Medicare have little to no savings. In 2014, half of all people with Medicare had $63,350 or less in savings, one in four had less than $11,900 in savings, and 8% had no savings altogether or were living with debt.
Baby Boomers need Medicare to retire. Among future retirees, half are expected to have annual incomes of $28,450 or less. In the year 2030, one quarter of people with Medicare are projected to have less than $23,900 in savings.
Past proposals to implement premium support would give people with Medicare a voucher or coupon to purchase health coverage, either a private plan or Original Medicare. The value of the voucher is not likely to keep pace with rising health care costs, meaning people with Medicare would pay significantly more.
Under past premium support proposals, Original Medicare would wither away. Over time, younger, healthier people with Medicare would likely opt for private plans, leaving older, sicker beneficiaries in Original Medicare and causing costs to go up substantially.
Medicare is cost-effective.
Medicare is more efficient than private
Medicare does a better job of controlling costs than private health plans. From 2010 to 2015, Medicare spending rose by an average of 1.4% per person per year—less than half the growth rate of private insurance.
Medicare provides health coverage less expensively than private insurance and has lower administrative expenses than private health plans which, by design, turn a profit.
Medicare is not going bankrupt.
Medicare will be able to fully pay on claims until 2028. Improvements included in the Affordable Care Act (ACA) strengthened Medicare’s financial outlook.
Protect & Strengthen Medicare
Visit our one-stop resource for facts and information on the Medicare program and on proposals under consideration by Congress and the Administration to change it. Check back for ongoing updates and opportunities to get involved.