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Strengthening Medicare: A Framework to Modernize and Improve Medicare

Background on the President's Framework for Prescription Drug Legislation

The President has proposed a comprehensive framework for strengthening Medicare that includes guaranteed access to an affordable Medicare prescription drug benefit for all seniors.

  • The drug benefit would allow seniors to strengthen the private health insurance coverage that helps well over half of seniors today - seniors would not see their coverage replaced by a one-size-fits-all government plan.
  • All seniors would have choices of drug coverage, to enable them to get the coverage they prefer - no senior would be forced to accept just one or two "options" in which the government controls which drugs are covered, as under some prescription drug proposals.
  • Seniors would have access to other modern benefits, like those provided in the Evercare plan and other private Medicare+Choice plans in the Minneapolis area, which help them work with their doctors to stay healthy and reduce their drug costs. For example, Evercare provides "disease management" services for seniors with multiple complex illnesses and their families, reducing the number of prescriptions they have to take and reducing their health care costs - all while achieving patient and family satisfaction of 95 percent.
  • Seniors would get help now - they would not have to wait for relief for several more years while the full Medicare drug benefit is set up.
    • The President has proposed a Medicare-endorsed drug card, supported by AARP and other senior and medical groups. All seniors will be able to use their purchasing power to get lower prices from drug manufacturers.
    • The President has proposed Federal funding beginning next year to provide prescription drug assistance to low-income Medicare beneficiaries, through existing state programs or the Medicare drug card. Up to 3 million seniors who do not have drug coverage now would get help.
    • The President has proposed new Medigap options that provide more affordable drug coverage, and fair payments for Medicare+Choice plans so they can continue to provide drug coverage and other modern benefits for seniors.
    • All of these proposals for immediate help are reflected in the House-passed Medicare bill.
  • These proposals are part of a comprehensive framework that would give seniors more reliable and affordable options for health care coverage, that would keep Medicare's benefits financially secure for the Baby Boom, and that would allow seniors who wish to do so to keep the coverage they have with no changes.
  • Most importantly, all seniors should have access to the best breakthrough drug treatments available today, and quick access to drug breakthroughs that are in the pipeline of research and development. The HHS report issued today shows the way to make that happen.

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