Congress Needs To Keep Medicare Fair

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Editor:

In June, Congress will decide whether to increase Medicare Part B premiums to cover the cost of increasing payments to doctors.People on Medicare pay their fair share for health care coverage and understand that doctors who treat Medicare patients must be paid fairly. However, forcing older Americans on fixed incomes to pay even higher premiums because of a flawed physician payment system is just not fair.
AARP is working on a national effort to urge Congress to keep Medicare fair by not raising Medicare premiums.Since 2000, Medicare Part B premiums have more than doubled.For 2008, the standard Medicare monthly premium is $96.40.And, that is just a small piece of the pie.There are many additional out of pocket costs as well.

Medicare covers, on average, only about half of a beneficiary's annual health care costs. Recipients pay out of pocket costs that include long term care (not covered by Medicare), coinsurance for doctor visits, hospital stays, skilled nursing facility care; premiums and coinsurance for prescription drugs and deductibles for basic health insurance and hospital stays.Recipients also pay for crucial medical services such as eye care and eyeglasses, hearing services and hearing aids, routine dental and nursing home care.

There are 44 million Americans that rely on Medicare every day for affordable health coverage. Many seniors are struggling financially; adding to that burden would only hurt an already vulnerable population.AARP Arizona urges Congress toeep Medicare Fairecause so many of Arizona recipients of Medicare are on fixed incomes.
Lupe Solis
AARP Arizona Advocacy Director

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