Today, Medicare’s Open Enrollment period begins and across the country, Americans have been reading about the benefits of the new law for seniors and the importance of delivering the benefits of reform to the American people.
Under the Affordable Care Act, beginning next year, seniors will be able to receive preventive services like mammograms and colonoscopies for free. The prescription drug coverage gap known as the donut hole will decrease until it is eliminated in 2020. This year, eligible seniors who hit the donut hole received a $250 rebate check. Thus far, over 1.8 million Medicare beneficiaries have received checks. Next year, they will receive a 50 percent discount on the brand name prescription drugs they purchase when they hit the donut hole. And all seniors will benefit from the provisions of the law that extend the life of the Medicare Trust Fund for an additional 12 years. Writing about Open Enrollment, the Daily Press in Virginia notes:
The Affordable Care Act, the health-care reform bill that passed in the spring, affects Medicare beneficiaries in a couple of ways: it mandates a free annual wellness visit and for most it eliminates co-pays for certain recommended preventive services, such as cancer screenings; it also includes a 50 percent discount on brand-name drugs when beneficiaries enter the "donut hole," or gap in prescription coverage…
In Florida, two newspapers placed a spotlight on the importance of moving forward with the Affordable Care Act and the danger of repealing or defunding the new law. The Orlando Sentinel notes:
Some Republicans are admitting that they can't repeal health-care reform, and pledging instead to deny funding to the agencies that would implement the law. But this could sabotage some of its best features — guaranteed insurance coverage for Americans with pre-existing conditions, coverage for children up to age 26 on their parents' policies, health-related tax breaks for individuals and businesses, and enhanced benefits for drugs and preventive care for seniors.
The St. Petersburg Times writes:
Health care reform is about America's security. It will put the country on a firmer financial footing as it gives working families dependable health coverage at a more affordable price. It's not perfect, and there is plenty of room to improve it. Republicans should be focused on making health care reform better, rather than trying to kill it.
Millions of Americans are learning about the benefits of the Affordable Care Act, and our Administration is moving forward to deliver these benefits and make reform a reality.
Stephanie Cutter is Assistant to the President for Special Projects