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President Bush Has Modernized Medicare And Provided More Than 40 Million Americans With Better Access To Prescription Drugs
President Bush has helped Americans receive the health care they need at a price they can afford, while empowering beneficiaries to make their own decisions to best meet their health needs.The President proposed broad Medicare reforms, and Congress responded by passing the historic Medicare Prescription Drug, Improvement, and Modernization Act of 2003, which has provided the most significant reforms to the Medicare program in nearly 40 years providing preventive care, offering Medicare beneficiaries market-based choices, and giving seniors and people with disabilities better access to the prescription drugs they need.
President Bush Reformed Medicare To Add A Prescription Drug Benefit, Give Beneficiaries More Private Plan Choices, And Add Preventive Services
These programs have been a great success for our Nation's Medicare beneficiaries. The Medicare prescription drug benefit has provided more than 40 million Americans including nearly 10 million low-income beneficiaries with better access to prescription drugs. More than 25 million are in the new Part D program, either through a stand-alone drug plan or through a Medicare Advantage drug plan, in which beneficiaries receive benefits through private health insurance. In addition, 6.7 million have Medicare-subsidized retiree coverage through their employer or union plan, while 7.5 million have other creditable drug coverage.
Nearly 10 million people, more than 20 percent of Medicare beneficiaries, are enrolled in Medicare Advantage and receive their comprehensive Medicare benefits through a private plan option. Beneficiary satisfaction rates in these plans are high, and most beneficiaries receive additional value, including reduced premiums, lower cost sharing, and extra benefits. Making this program stable and predictable was one of the President's goals, and as a result of the changes made in 2003, almost every county in America has a private plan choice, many with zero premiums
The President modernized Medicare to focus more on preventive care. Part of modern, effective health care is recognizing that if diseases are caught early, effective treatment is more likely, increasing the potential to reduce both cost and suffering. Every beneficiary entering Medicare who elects Part B is now eligible for a "Welcome to Medicare" exam within the first twelve months of coverage. Medicare is now covering cardiovascular blood screenings, diabetes screening, ultrasound screenings for aneurysms, and smoking cessation counseling that can catch illnesses like diabetes and heart disease.
Prescription drug coverage helps beneficiaries in four important ways:
In April 2008, the Department of Defense announced the creation of the Armed Forces Institute for Regenerative Medicine (AFIRM), a new partnership among the Federal government, universities, and private companies. Regenerative medicine is a promising new field focused on the repair and replacement of tissues and organs, which has been made possible in part by progress in stem cell research. The Centers goal is to take ethical stem cell-based innovations out of the lab and make them a life-improving reality for our wounded warriors and other Americans.
Competition Is Helping To Reduce Medical Costs For Consumers And Taxpayer
Private sector competition has resulted in more innovation and flexibility in coverage. Under President Bush's Medicare Part D policy, private health plans compete by providing better coverage at affordable prices helping to control the costs of Medicare by marketplace competition, not government price-setting.
Beneficiaries Are Satisfied With Medicare Prescription Drug Coverage
Overall satisfaction is very high. Public opinion surveys in 2007 indicate satisfaction rates of over 85 percent.
According to the 2008 Medicare Today Survey:
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