29 November 2009

Patient Protection and Affordibility Act of 2009 (The Facts)

Part One of Two Parts:

As the U. S. Senate prepares to begin debate on health care reform older Americans need to have the facts and to understand their stake in the outcome. The coming Senate floor debate is a huge step forward in bringing equitable health care to all Americans, but our goal (Alliance for Retired Americans) of affordable and accessible health care for all Americans is still to be fulfilled.

We hope that the Senate will take this opportunity to improve what the House brought forth and completely phase out the doughnut hole; allow the government (Medicare) to negotiate the cost of prescription drugs; and remove the tax on the health benefits of retirees and working families.

Regardless, there are many positives in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2009 (PPCA), H.R. 3590 for older Americans.

Lowers Your Prescription Drug Costs - By requiring drug makers to provide 50% discount to Part D beneficiaries for brand-name drugs and biologics beginning July 1, 2010. It will also shrink the "doughnut hole" by $500 per senior for 2010.

Protects Your Choice of Doctor - By preventing a scheduled 21% cut in Medicare doctor payments in 2010, ensuring that doctors will continue to serve seniors and seniors can continue seeing their preferred doctors.

Makes Preventive Services More Affordable - Today, Medicare beneficiaries must pay 20% of the cost of preventive services. Much of those prohibitive costs will go away, meaning no copay for immunization, cancer screenings, cholesterol screening, bone calcium level screening, and colonoscopies, among other procedures. Older Americans will, at last, have an opportunity doe free annual check-ups, with comprehensive health risk assessments that will help identify chronic disease, modifiable risk factors and emergency or urgent health needs.

Helps Seniors Prepare for Long Term Care Costs - Ten million Americans today need long term services and support---including 4-million under age 65. Despite this urgent and critical need, fewer than 10% can afford the incredibly expensive private long term care insurance policies. To met this urgent need and to promote independence the PPACA will create a new, voluntary national insurance program (to be known as the CLASS Independence Benefit Plan) that will help seniors pay for care in their own homes rather than premature entry into a nursing home in order that they get care through Medicaid.

Coming Tomorrow: Nursing Home Safety, More Medicare Savings, & Helping 55-64 Year Olds Stay Healthy.

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