AARP Urges the American Congress Leadership to Prevent a Large cut in Medicare
Jo Ann Jenkins, the Chief Executive Officer of AARP calls on the leadership of the American Congress to keep their promise to the American seniors by prevention of a possible large cut in Medicare in 2018.
This enormous cut which is expected to be about $25 billion would result from the enactment of H.R. 1 and its $1.5 trillion deficit increase.
This situation was brought to the fore by an explanation recently provided by the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) about the impact H.R. 1 and its $1.5 trillion deficit increase will have on Medicare and other government programs.
The CBO projected that due to the statutory pay-as-you-go and the increase in the deficit, Medicare providers will be subject to an automatic $25 billion cut in fiscal year 2018, and additional cuts in subsequent fiscal years. According to CBO, the automatic cuts, or sequester, would begin as soon as January, 2018.
In a letter to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, Minority Leader Charles Schumer, House Speaker Paul Ryan and Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, Jenkins reminded McConnell and Ryan that they had recently issued a statement promising that they will work to ensure that these spending cuts are prevented.
In their statement, the Republican leaders pointed out that “Congress has readily available methods to waive this law, which has never been enforced since its enactment. There is no reason to believe that Congress would not act again to prevent a sequester, and we will work to ensure these spending cuts are prevented.”
“The sudden cut to Medicare provider funding in 2018 would have an immediate and lasting impact, including fewer providers participating in Medicare and reduced access to care for Medicare beneficiaries” Jenkins stated. “Health care providers may choose to stop accepting Medicare patients at a time when the Medicare population is growing by 10,000 new beneficiaries each day”.
Jenkins went further to reiterate the fact that cutting reimbursement in 2018, and possibly each year thereafter, would discourage health care providers from treating this growing population.
“We need to protect and strengthen the Medicare program and ensure there is a health care workforce able and willing to take on new patients. Moreover, Medicare Advantage plans and Part D prescription drug plans may charge higher premiums or cost-sharing in future years to make up for the cuts now” she added.
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