FORWARD — The Affordable Care Act is helping people with Medicare save on the care they need to stay healthy—from free preventive services to lower costs on prescription drugs and monthly premiums.
BACKWARD — Mitt Romney would end guaranteed benefits and turn Medicare into a voucher program, which could cost seniors as much as $6,400 more each year.
Affordable Care Act made many preventive services no cost to beneficiaries
The Affordable Care Act – the new health care law – helped over 16 million people with original Medicare get at least one preventive service at no cost to them during the first six months of 2012, Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Kathleen Sebelius announced today. This includes 1.35 million who have taken advantage of the Annual Wellness Visit provided by the Affordable Care Act. In 2011, 32.5 million people in Medicare received one or more preventive benefits free of charge.
“Millions of Americans are getting cancer screenings, mammograms and other preventive services for free thanks to the health care law,” said Secretary Sebelius. “These new benefits, made possible through the health care law, are helping people stay healthy by giving them the tools they need to prevent health problems before they happen.”
Prior to 2011, people with Medicare faced cost-sharing for many preventive benefits such as cancer screenings. Through the Affordable Care Act, preventive benefits are offered free of charge to beneficiaries, with no deductible or co-pay, so that cost is no longer a barrier for seniors who want to stay healthy and treat problems early.
The law also added an important new service for people with Medicare — an Annual Wellness Visit with the doctor of their choice— at no cost to beneficiaries.
For more information on Medicare-covered preventive services, please visit: http://www.healthcare.gov/law/features/65-older/medicare-preventive-services/index.html
To learn what screenings, vaccinations and other preventive services doctors recommend for you and those you care about, please visit the myhealthfinder tool at www.healthfinder.gov.
— By Andres Ramirez, Protect Your Care
The Supreme Court has ruled that Obamacare is constitutional, but yet again, Republican Congressmen Joe Heck and Mark Amodei refused to move on and told American families in Nevada to drop dead when they voted to take away their health care. Congressman and Medical Doctor Joe Heck, and Congressman Mark Amodei voted to again let insurance companies deny families care because of preexisting conditions. They voted to throw millions of senior citizens back into the prescription drug donut hole. Both Nevada House Republicans voted to kick millions of young adults off their parents insurance.
And just in case that heartless vote wasn’t bad enough, these are the same Congressmen who support the Romney/Ryan budget that ends Medicare while giving huge tax cuts to millionaires, big oil companies and corporate jet owners.
|FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
July 9, 2012
|Contact: HHS Press Office
2.4 million people with Medicare to receive better, more coordinated care
Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Kathleen Sebelius announced today, that as of July 1, 89 new Accountable Care Organizations (ACOs) began serving 1.2 million people with Medicare in 40 states and Washington, D.C. ACOs are organizations formed by groups of doctors and other health care providers that have agreed to work together to coordinate care for people with Medicare.
These 89 new ACOs have entered into agreements with CMS, taking responsibility for the quality of care they provide to people with Medicare in return for the opportunity to share in savings realized through high-quality, well-coordinated care.
“Better coordinated care is good for patients and it saves money,” said Secretary Sebelius. “We applaud every one of these doctors, hospitals, health centers and others for working together to ensure millions of people with Medicare get better, more patient-centered, coordinated care.”
Participation in an ACO is purely voluntary for providers. The Medicare Shared Savings Program (MSSP), and other initiatives related to ACOs, is made possible by the 2010 Affordable Care Act. Federal savings from this initiative could be up to $940 million over four years.
“This new group of ACOs adds to a solid foundation,” said Centers for Medicare & Medicaid (CMS) Acting Administrator Marilyn Tavenner. “The Medicare ACO program opened for business in January and, already, more than 2.4 million beneficiaries are receiving care from providers participating in these important initiatives.”
The 89 ACOs announced today bring the total number of organizations participating in Medicare shared savings initiatives to 154, including the 32 ACOs participating in the testing of the Pioneer ACO Model by CMS’s Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation (Innovation Center) announced last December, and six Physician Group Practice Transition Demonstration organizations that started in January 2011. In all, as of July 1, more than 2.4 million beneficiaries are receiving care from providers participating in Medicare shared savings initiatives.
The selected ACOs operate in a wide range of areas of the country and almost half are physician-driven organizations serving fewer than 10,000 beneficiaries, demonstrating that smaller organizations are interested in operating as ACOs. Their models for coordinating care and improving quality vary in response to the needs of the beneficiaries in the areas they are serving.
To ensure that savings are achieved through improving care coordination and providing care that is appropriate, safe, and timely, an ACO must meet quality standards. For 2012, CMS has established 33 quality measures relating to care coordination and patient safety, appropriate use of preventive health services, improved care for at-risk populations, and patient and caregiver experience of care.
Beginning this year, new ACO applications will be accepted annually. The application period for organizations that wish to participate in the MSSP beginning in January 2013 is from Aug. 1 through Sept. 6, 2012. More information, including application requirements, is available at http://www.cms.gov/Medicare/Medicare-Fee-for-Service-Payment/sharedsavingsprogram/Application.html
To learn more about the ACOs announced today, visit: http://www.cms.gov/apps/media/fact_sheets.asp
- Insurance companies can no longer impose lifetime coverage limits on your insurance.
- The lifetime cap and annual cap will be sharply limited, and ultimately eliminated in 2014.
- Children with pre-existing conditions are covered. (Frankly, I never really understood how a newborn could have a pre-existing condition when the mother was covered before becoming pregnant, and the mother was covered then entire time she was pregnant. Thus the new born was covered from conception to birth, yet at birth has a pre-existing condition???? How is that possible?)
- A temporary program will help adults with pre-existing conditions get coverage. It expires in 2014, when the health insurance exchanges come on-line. Then, all are covered, pre-existing condition or not.
- Insurance companies are not permitted to drop you when you get sick.
- Children can elect to stay on their parents’ health insurance until the age of 26.
- Senior citizens get $250 toward closing the “doughnut hole” in their prescription drug coverage.
- Medicare’s preventive benefits include a free visit to your primary care doctor every year to plan your preventive services. No more co-pays for preventive services under Medicare.
- Small Businesses get BIG tax credits — up to 50% of the premium costs — for offering health insurance to their workers.
- Insurers with unusually high administrative costs have to offer rebates to their consumers if they fail to spend 80% of premiums collected on actual health care. Every insurance company has to reveal how much it spends on overhead (which contributes nothing to the actual health of those they insure).
- Free birth control and other preventive services for women, unless you work for a churches that oppose birth control. And, in those circumstances, the insurance company itself, separate from the Church, will provide coverage for birth control at no cost to those women.
in the House
The Repeal of Obamacare Act
Would repeal the 2010 healthcare law. It’s the GOP response to the Supreme Court ruling on the law. The House Rules Committee is expected to consider this bill on Monday evening in an “emergency meeting” because the bill will be officially introduced on Monday by Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.). The House is expected to vote on the bill on Wednesday, July 11.
Republicans in the house have gone overboard this session mandating that each and every bill must specify “pay-fors.” A repeal of “Obamacare” would pose a $230B increase in the budget deficit. Watch to see if hypocrisy prevails and whether Rep. Eric Cantor (R-VA) identifies ANY “pay-fors” as part of his repeal effort that is going absolutely NOWHERE.
The National Strategic and Critical Minerals Production Act (HR 4402)
Aimed at streamlining the process for approving mining rights, and addressing what many see as an increasingly U.S. reliance on imported rare earth minerals that are key to manufacturing and national security.
Several non-controversial bills will also be considered in the House this week:
The Veterans’ Compensation Cost-of-Living Adjustment Act (HR 4114)
Increases, effective as of Dec. 1, 2012, the rates of compensation for veterans with service-connected disabilities and the rates of dependency and indemnity compensation for the survivors of certain disabled veterans.
The Veteran Skills to Jobs Act (HR 4155)
Directs the head of each Federal department and agency to treat relevant military training as sufficient to satisfy training or certification requirements for Federal licenses.
HR 4367 amends the Electronic Fund Transfer Act to limit the fee disclosure requirement for an automatic teller machine to the screen of that machine.
The Hydropower Regulatory Efficiency Act (HR 5892)
The Juvenile Accountability Block Grant Reauthorization and the Bullying Prevention and Intervention Act (HR 6019)
Enhances the use of Juvenile Accountability Block Grants for programs to prevent and address occurrences of bullying and to reauthorize the Juvenile Accountability Block Grants program.
in the Senate
The Small Business Jobs and Tax Relief Act (S 2237) – The Senate will hold a procedural vote on this bill Tuesday afternoon.
This bill (#6 on POPVOX) would reduce corporate taxes on the first $5 million in wages paid in 2012 over 2011.
The Haqqani Network Terrorist Designation Act (S 1959)
Requires a report on the designation of the Haqqani Network as a foreign terrorist organization.
The Former Charleston Naval Base Land Exchange Act (S 2061)
Provides for an exchange of land between the Department of Homeland Security and the South Carolina State Ports Authority.
Other Bills of Interest
The Supreme Court ruling in favor of the healthcare bill prompted the introduction of several bills to repeal the law, none of which appear likely to advance because of the pending House vote on Cantor’s bill.
Three of these similar bills made the top of POPVOX’s most-commented list last week:
The NObamacare Act (HR 6053)
Repeals the provisions of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act and the health-related provisions of the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act of 2010 not declared unconstitutional by the Supreme Court from Rep. Connie Mack (R-Fla.).
The Healthcare Tax Relief and Mandate Repeal Act (HR 6048)
Amends the tax code to repeal the individual and employer health insurance mandates, from Rep. Michael Turner (R-Ohio) and more than 100 other cosponsors.
The NObamacare Funds Act (HR 6054)
Prohibits funding to implement any provision of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act or of the health-related provisions of the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act of 2010, from Rep. Connie Mack (R-Fla.).