New HHS report details benefits of healthcare reform efforts for seniors
In recent weeks, many U.S. seniors have spoken out against healthcare reform. In a new report, the Department of Health and Human Services stresses that reform is necessary to save the Medicare program.
If trends continue, the Medicare Part A trust fund will likely run out in about eight years, according to the report. Seniors may need to save about $300,000 in order to cover all the costs of healthcare Medicare won't be able to afford. If no action is taken, Medicare Part B plus Medicare Part D premiums and cost-sharing could eat up one-third of seniors' Social Security benefits within 15 years, the report said. Also, the current physician reimbursement system is scheduled to cut physician pay by 21% in 2010. That will reduce beneficiary access to Medicare physicians, especially in rural areas, where one in four beneficiaries live.
Healthcare reform efforts actually could help save Medicare coverage for seniors, the HHS report concludes. It would lower premiums and extend the solvency of Medicare, reduce drug costs, protect and improve access to healthcare providers, prioritize prevention and focus on primary care. Healthcare and health insurance reforms can create a more stable and efficient Medicare program that could provide low-cost long-term care coverage, according to the HHS report. Many seniors have expressed fear that healthcare reform would cut into their Medicare benefits.