Improving and Protecting Medicare

Issues: Health Care

The Affordable Care Act, provides Medicare recipients with access to free preventive care and a free annual wellness visit every year. Before health reform, some of these services could have a co-pay as high as $160.  The Department of Health and Human Services estimates that 74 percent of Michiganders enrolled in Medicare Part B utilized one or more free preventive service in 2017.   

I am fighting to protect guaranteed benefits for all 57 million Americans on Medicare. Estimates by the Department of Health and Human Services indicate that the new benefits and services provided to Medicare recipients by the Affordable Care Act will save the typical senior over $3,500 over the next decade.

I am also working to improve Medicare by expanding access to crucial health services not currently covered by the program. I have introduced legislation to provide comprehensive dental, vision, and hearing benefits to all Medicare beneficiaries. This is a long overdue reform that would improve overall health and improve the quality of life of millions seniors and people with disabilities.

The Affordable Care Act strengthens Medicare and extends the solvency of the Medicare Trust Fund that supports Medicare’s hospital insurance coverage until 2029 --by squeezing waste out of the system and making it more efficient, without reducing benefits.  Just a few years ago, the Medicare Trust Fund was projected to run out of money by 2017.

The health care law helps stop fraud with tougher screening procedures, stronger penalties, and new technology. New tools have helped law enforcement crack down on fraudulent actors engaged in abuse of health programs. From 2009 to 2016, the federal government’s fraud enforcement efforts have returned $17.9 billion to the Medicare Trust Fund.

Unfortunately, some in Congress want to undo this progress and take us backwards. The House Republican Budget would end the guarantee of Medicare and turn it into a voucher program where seniors would have to buy private insurance.  However, the voucher would not keep up with the cost of health care.  Under the House Republican Budget, a typical 65-year-old who becomes eligible for Medicare would pay an extra $6,400 than what he or she would pay if the plan were not adopted.

I have voted against every Republican proposal to end the guarantee of Medicare.  I am committed to protecting Medicare and making sure its life-saving benefits are here for years to come.

(Updated September 2017)