Mulka: Medicare benefits from the Affordable Care Act |

Mulka: Medicare benefits from the Affordable Care Act

Linda Mulka MD
Buena Vista

Several months ago I received a previously debunked email from an employee from Blue Cross of Alabama. She claimed “that under Obamacare our Medicare Part B premiums will rise to $247” so that we need to elect Romney in the election.

The fact is that the cost of Part B premiums has been set by Congress for decades at 25 percent of the cost of services.

Medicare recipients have already received additional benefits since the ACA has been passed. They are now eligible for free preventive checkups, including mammograms and colonoscopies. The Medicare Part D donut hole will gradually be eliminated by 2020.

These new benefits will be financed by reducing fraud and overpayments to private insurers through Medicare “Advantage” plans. The measures will also extend the solvency of Medicare for an additional 8 years until 2024 according to the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office.

Ryan included these savings in his budget. With the repeal of the ACA, though, new preventive health services and donut-hole coverage would be lost. He would also increase the age for Medicare benefits to 67 and replace it with a voucher of $8,000 to purchase insurance from private companies. The average Medicare recipient will need to pay an additional $6,400.

If Romney were to repeal these cost savings, premiums and co-payments would increase by an average of $577 by 2022.

It would appear that seniors would be voting against their interests if they voted for a candidate Nov. 6 that would repeal the Affordable Care Act, as they are guaranteed higher out-of-pocket costs while losing health services, while Medicare will start to go broke again in 2016. According to the AARP, “these fictitious emails are just another attempt to scare older Americans.”

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