Press Release             

Contact: Mitchell Clark
Senior Communications Associate

February 13, 2013  

Statement by Medicare Rights Center President Joe Baker on President Obama’s State of the Union Speech

New York, NY—In last night’s State of the Union address, President Obama committed to a balanced deficit reduction plan, one that does not “…ask senior citizens and working families to shoulder the entire burden of deficit reduction while asking nothing more from the wealthiest and most powerful.”

President Obama also acknowledged the need to rein in rising health care costs and offered worthwhile solutions, including advancing quality-driven delivery system reforms already underway as part of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and restoring Medicare prescription drug rebates.

We agree that people with Medicare cannot afford to bear the cost of deficit reduction. Cost saving measures made possible by the Affordable Care Act are already slowing the growth of Medicare spending. President Obama recognizes that more can be done by diminishing wasteful spending on prescription drugs in the Medicare program. Seniors should not be forced to pay more for their Medicare when sizable savings can be secured by shrinking windfall profits enjoyed by the pharmaceutical industry.

President Obama offered one additional proposal that must be approached with caution, requiring wealthier Medicare beneficiaries to pay higher premiums. The wealthiest people with Medicare already pay higher premiums in Medicare. On the whole, seniors and people with disabilities have low and modest incomes. Because of this, further means testing in Medicare would likely affect middle class beneficiaries—not just the wealthy. We urge caution and ask for careful analysis on who will be affected as this concept is explored.

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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.


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