In this week’s episode of Medicare Nation, Diane Daniels interviews Max Richtman, the president of the National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare (NCPSSM). In this episode, Diane and Max discuss Medicare’s 50th anniversary, the role of the NCPSSM, the Supreme Court’s challenge to the Affordable Care Act and HR 3308 - Seniors Have Eyes, Ears, and Teeth Bill.
Main Questions Asked:
- Tell us what the National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare does?
- How do you view the importance of the Supreme Court’s challenge to the Affordable Care Act and Medicare’s 50th anniversary?
- What is your take on Medicare’s financial condition?
- How can we balance the two schools of political thought when it comes to Medicare?
Key Lessons Learned:
- 55 million people depend on Medicare for their healthcare.
- Billions of dollars are lost each year to fraud, healthcare’s rising costs, and increasing numbers of Americans retiring from the workforce.
- Former Congressman James Roosevelt, who was the eldest son of FDR, founded The National Committee.
- The NCPSSM is dedicated to protecting the Social Security and Medicare programs and is the second largest senior citizen lobbying association in the USA, with about 3.5 million members and supporters.
- The recent focus has been to improve, enhance, and expand the Social Security and Medicare programs.
Supreme Court’s Challenge to the Affordable Care Act
- $716 billion was saved out of the Medicare program and the Affordable Care Act.
- These savings came from reducing payments to providers such as Medicare advantage programs and reimbursements to hospitals.
- Under the Affordable Care Act, Medicare beneficiaries enjoy preventative care with no out-of-pocket costs. This includes cancer screenings, colonoscopies, mammograms, and diabetes testing.
- The Medicare program is now solvent until the year 2030.
Medicare’s Financial Condition
- In light of the Obamacare program, the solvency of the Medicare program was expanded for an additional 13 years.
- As the Affordable Care Act takes hold and reduces health care costs, it will have an impact on Medicare as well.
- Max is looking forward to additional years being added to the program by virtue of the restraint on costs that will be received due to the Affordable Care Act.
- Besides reducing reimbursement rates to providers, it has changed the focus on healthcare payments to be tied to value and not volume.
- Doctors and their staff have to be current and understand what is needed to reduce cost as so much money is depleted through fraud, waste, and abuse.
- Look at your Medicare statement every month to ensure it is correct with regards to providers and procedures.
- If you notice a discrepancy, then call your Medicare Plan immediately and report it.
- Remember, the patient can play the largest role in finding discrepancies and overcharges. This has a significant impact in reducing waste and fraud.
Politics and Medicare
- There is a significant divide among politicians in how Medicare should function in the future.
- We hear from the campaign trail that it is fiscally responsible to reform Medicare, but we also hear expansion of Medicare is the best option.
- We need to ask ‘what does reform mean?’ To some, ‘reform’ is another’s idea of ending the Medicare program.
- The reason we have a Medicare program in the first place is because insurers didn’t want to insure seniors as it was deemed too expensive.
- The value of a voucher will not keep up with the increased cost and inflation in healthcare. It will become less valuable over time and less able to provide coverage.
- Using vouchers is a way to rescind Medicare law and go back to a time when people were on their own and a lot more seniors were living in poverty.
HR 3308 Seniors Have Eyes, Ears, and Teeth Act
- Congressman Alan Grayson from Florida recently introduced the Eyes, Ears, and Teeth bill.
- The NCPSSM wrote a letter endorsing the bill that will, for the first time, add coverage under Medicare for vision, hearing, and dental.
Medicare and Hearing
- One third of people in the 65–74 age group experience hearing loss.
- Half of people over the age of 75 have hearing loss issues.
- Congresswoman Debbie Dingle introduced The Medicare Hearing Aid Coverage Act of 2015 that will take a portion of that coverage and add Medicare coverage for hearing testing and hearing aids
- There is a lot of opposition from the medical industry as providers don’t want to deal with the Medicare regulations even though there would be a massive increase in volume.
- Dr. Franklin Lin from Johns Hopkins has developed groundbreaking research that makes a link between hearing loss and dementia and Alzheimer’s.
- Having Medicare cover hearing loss and come up with the financial resources to provide that coverage would pale in comparison to the cost of treating Alzheimer’s patients.
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Congressman Allan Grayson presents to the House of Representatives
HR 3308 – Seniors Have Eyes, Ears and Teeth Bill
Congresswoman Debbie Dingell presents to the House of Representatives
HR 1653 - The Medicare Hearing Aid Coverage Act of 2015
Federal Trade Commission
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Are you aware of The Eyes, Ears and Teeth Bill? Find out what it means for you. @NCPSSM @medicarenation http://tinyurl.com/ow3ea9l
What is Medicare’s current financial condition? Find out w/ @NCPSSM @medicarenation http://tinyurl.com/ow3ea9l