Making Medicare Stronger, Improving Care, Saving Money

Today, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) released a new report outlining some of the steps our Administration has taken to strengthen the Medicare program, save money and improve the quality of care for our seniors. The report finds that the tools in the Affordable Care Act and other steps we have already taken will save nearly $120 billion for Medicare over the next five years and help deliver better care to people on Medicare.

Many of these reforms were made possible by the Affordable Care Act. The new law rewards doctors and hospitals for providing high-quality care and offers new tools to help law enforcement and the Medicare program crack down on waste fraud and abuse. Other steps like improving care for patients with disabilities and bringing down the cost of durable medical equipment build on initiatives undertaken at CMS that will also reduce costs. And we recently announced the launch of the Partnership for Patients, a new public-private partnership that will help improve the quality, safety, and affordability of health care for all Americans.  Already, more than 3,000 organizations, including 1,500 hospitals, have signed a pledge to become part of the Partnership for Patients. This has the potential to save up to $10 billion for Medicare through 2013.

At the same time we have helped improve Medicare’s finances, we have also extended important new benefits to everyone on Medicare. Thanks to the Affordable Care Act:

  • Key preventive services are free for people on Medicare.
  • All Medicare beneficiaries may receive a free annual physical.
  • If you hit the prescription drug donut hole, you will receive a 50 percent discount on your brand name prescription drugs and lower cost generic drugs. And the donut hole will be closed by 2020.

While we’ve made real and significant progress, there is more work to do to strengthen Medicare for future generations.  That’s why the President’s framework for shared prosperity and shared fiscal responsibility includes reforms that would save at least an additional $200 billion for Medicare over the next decade. The framework would:

  • Bend the long-term cost curve by setting a more ambitious target of holding Medicare cost growth per beneficiary to GDP per capita plus 0.5 percent beginning in 2018, through strengthening the Independent Payment Advisory Board (IPAB).
  • Reduce Medicare’s excessive spending on prescription drugs and lower premiums for beneficiaries without shifting costs to seniors or privatizing Medicare.

We’re committed to protecting Medicare and in the weeks and months ahead, we will continue to build on the Affordable Care Act and ensure Medicare remains strong for generations to come.

Nancy-Ann DeParle is White House Deputy Chief of Staff.

Related Topics: Health Care