December 02,2009

The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act: Strengthening Medicare, Protecting Seniors

Health reform will help doctors continue to care for seniors.

  • Without reform, Medicare will be forced to cut payments to doctors by 21 percent next year, meaning some doctors would be forced to limit the number of Medicare patients they see or stop seeing Medicare patients altogether.
  • Health care reform will reverse the payment cut and provide doctors with a pay increase so that they can continue to care for seniors.

Health reform will improve focus in Medicare on excellent health care outcomes for patients.

  • Health reform saves money in Medicare by looking for places where the program can be more efficient, such as encouraging more people on Medicare to focus on prevention and wellness.
  • Improvements include incentives for hospitals to reduce high readmission rates for seniors and reduce hospital acquired infections, which results in better care for patients and saves Medicare dollars.
  • Another one of the many improvements would link Medicare payments together for all of a patient’s doctors when they work together to treat a particular patient. For example, if a Medicare patient breaks her hip, her primary care doctor, her hospital and her physical therapist would receive one bundled payment from Medicare for her care. That means these providers would have to work together to treat the patient and track how much of the care – and the payment – they would be responsible for, reducing duplicated services, saving money in Medicare and ensuring more coordinated care for the patient.

The National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare supports health reform provisions.

  • In a letter to every Member of the Senate the Committee expressed support for the Medicare provisions included in the Senate health reform bill. They said:

“America’s seniors have a major stake in the health care reform debate as the skyrocketing costs of health care are especially challenging for those on fixed incomes. Not a single penny of the savings in the Senate bill will come out of the pockets of beneficiaries in the traditional Medicare program. The Medicare savings included in H.R. 3590, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, will positively impact millions of Medicare beneficiaries by slowing the rate of increase in out-of-pocket cost and improving benefits; and it will extend the solvency of the Medicare Trust Fund by five years. To us, this is a win-win for seniors and the Medicare program.”