This week, the Medicare Rights Center, California Health Advocates and the Center for Medicare Advocacy, Inc. submitted joint testimony to the U.S. House of Representatives Subcommittee on Health of the Committee on Ways and Means. Responding to the Subcommittee’s recent hearing examining traditional Medicare’s benefit design, the testimony focused on how the most discussed Medicare redesign proposals would increase out-of-pocket costs for people with Medicare and discourage beneficiaries from seeking necessary health care services.
On average, people with Medicare have lower household budgets ($30,800 vs. $49,600 respectively) and spend three times more on health care than the non-Medicare households. Yet, many notable Medicare redesign proposals shift additional costs to beneficiaries. The National Association of Insurance Commissioners, MedPAC and the Congressional Budget Office acknowledge that increased cost-sharing may lead beneficiaries to forego necessary health care, which adversely affects their health and leads to increased health care costs overall. Instead of shifting additional costs to older adults and people with disabilities, Medicare Rights, California Health Advocates and the Center for Medicare Advocacy, Inc. propose reducing wasteful spending in the Medicare program and advancing delivery system reforms in the Affordable Care Act that are intended to enhance the quality of health care while simultaneously driving down costs.