On Medicare’s 48th Birthday, Retirees Push for Passage of the Medicare Drug Savings Act

July 30, 2013

The following statement was issued by Edward F. Coyle, Executive Director of the Alliance for Retired Americans, on the occasion of the 48th birthday of Medicare and Medicaid.

Washington, DC – “On today’s anniversary of Medicare and Medicaid, grassroots activists with the Alliance for Retired Americans are grateful that these programs have provided 48 years of care and security for millions, allowing millions of retirees and people with disabilities to afford to see a doctor or fill a prescription.

“Unfortunately, Washington is fixated on deficit reduction to the detriment of Medicare. Instead of asking the wealthiest 2% to pay their fair share, some politicians are trying to balance the budget on the backs of seniors and people with disabilities by further means-testing Medicare. This would actually affect middle-income retirees - and shift more costs to beneficiaries. These benefit cuts would seriously hurt current and future retirees, undermine the program and are completely unnecessary.

“According to this year’s Medicare Trustees Report, Medicare is completely solvent until 2026, two years later than last year’s report. We can have a strong, sustainable Medicare program without cutting benefits or increasing costs, if we take measures to limit drug companies from price-gouging American taxpayers. Already, according to HHS, over 6.6 million people with Medicare have saved over $7 billion on prescription drugs in the Medicare Part D doughnut hole since the law was enacted, for an average of $1,061. In the first 6 months of 2013, 16.5 million beneficiaries on traditional Medicare took advantage of at least one free preventive service.

“The Medicare Drug Savings Act (S. 740 in the Senate and H.R. 1588 in the House), introduced by Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-WV) and Rep. Henry Waxman (D-CA), would save Medicare more than $140 billion by eliminating the loophole that blocks Medicare from negotiating with Big Pharma for cheaper drugs.

“For some powerful stories about people currently receiving Medicare benefits who would be further harmed by cuts, go to http://www.retiredamericans.org/issues/medicare-and-rx-drugs.”

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Contact: David Blank (202) 637-5275 dblank@retiredamericans.org

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