Press Release             

Contact: Mitchell Clark
Senior Communications Associate

July 3, 2012

Medicare Rights Submits Testimony on the Medicare Payment Advisory Commission’s June Report to Congress

The Medicare Rights Center submitted testimony today to the United States House of Representatives Committee on Ways and Means, Subcommittee on Health about the June Medicare Payment Advisory Commission’s (MedPAC) report to Congress. In its report, MedPAC suggests reforming the traditional Medicare benefit design to create a combined deductible for Part A and Part B services, replace coinsurances with standard co-payments, institute a limit on beneficiaries’ out-of-pocket spending, and add a surcharge to supplemental coverage, including Medigap policies and retiree plans.

In its testimony, Medicare Rights supports the idea of a catastrophic cap to limit beneficiaries’ out-of-pocket spending. However, it is likely that many people would continue to purchase Medicare supplemental coverage to help with cost sharing before reaching the cap; therefore, a surcharge on supplemental policies is not the right approach since it would increase costs for beneficiaries. The testimony also points out that increased cost sharing is a blunt instrument for reducing utilization. As a result, beneficiaries are just as likely to forego necessary care as they are to forego unnecessary services.

“Medicare would be improved by a redesign of the benefit and the institution of a cap on beneficiaries’ out-of-pocket spending,” said Joe Baker, President of the Medicare Rights Center. “However, we are concerned that the recommendations outlined in MedPAC’s report shifts costs to beneficiaries, half of whom live on annual incomes of $25,000 or less and who on average already spend 15 percent of their incomes on health care.”

Read the testimony.

- end -

Follow us on Facebook and Twitter:

Medicare Rights Center is a national, nonprofit consumer service organization that works to ensure access to affordable health care for older adults and people with disabilities through counseling and advocacy, educational programs, and public policy initiatives.


520 Eighth Avenue, North Wing, 3rd Floor  ∙  New York, New York 10018
1224 M Street, NW, Suite 100  ∙  Washington, D. C. 20005  ∙