Weekly Address 08-25-12

 Posted by at 10:41  Politics
Aug 252012

“Preserving and Strengthening Medicare”

From the White House weblog:

President Obama speaks to the American people about the critical need to strengthen and preserve Medicare for our seniors and future generations.

Click below to listen to the audio only:

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Transcript after the break.

Remarks of President Barack Obama
Weekly Address
The White House
August 25, 2012

Hi, everybody. Over the last few weeks, there’s been a lot of talk about Medicare, with a lot of accusations and misinformation flying around. So today I want to step back for a minute and share with you some actual facts and news about the program.

This week, we found out that, thanks to the health care law we passed, nearly 5.4 million seniors with Medicare have saved over $4.1 billion on prescription drugs. That’s an average of more than $700 per person. And this year alone, 18 million seniors with Medicare have taken advantage of preventive care benefits like mammograms or other cancer screenings that now come at no extra cost.

That’s progress. It means that seniors everywhere are getting the care they need for less. And if you have questions about what benefits you’re entitled to, you can go to www.medicare.gov to find out.

This news is also a reminder of what’s really at stake when we talk about the future of Medicare. It’s not about overheated rhetoric at election time. It’s about a promise this country made to our seniors that says if you put in a lifetime of hard work, you shouldn’t lose your home or your life savings just because you get sick.

Over the last 47 years, millions of Americans have worked for that promise. They’ve earned it. And for many seniors, the care they’ve gotten through Medicare has made all the difference in the world.

Growing up as the son of a single mother, I was raised with the help of my grandparents. I saw how important things like Medicare and Social Security were in their lives. And I saw the peace of mind it gave them.

That’s why, as President, my goal has been to strengthen these programs now, and preserve them for future generations. Because today’s seniors deserve that same peace of mind. And the millions of Americans who are working hard right now deserve to know that the care they need will be available when they need it.

That’s why, as part of the Affordable Care Act, we gave seniors deeper discounts on prescription drugs, and made sure preventive care like mammograms are free without a co-pay. We’ve extended the life of Medicare by almost a decade. And I’ve proposed reforms that will save Medicare money by getting rid of wasteful spending in the health care system and reining in insurance companies – reforms that won’t touch your guaranteed Medicare benefits. Not by a single dime.

Republicans in Congress have put forward a very different plan. They want to turn Medicare into a voucher program. That means that instead of being guaranteed Medicare, seniors would get a voucher to buy insurance, but it wouldn’t keep up with costs. As a result, one plan would force seniors to pay an extra $6,400 a year for the same benefits they get now. And it would effectively end Medicare as we know it.

I think our seniors deserve better. I’m willing to work with anyone to keep improving the current system, but I refuse to do anything that undermines the basic idea of Medicare as a guarantee for seniors who get sick.

Here in America, we believe in keeping our promises – especially to our seniors who have put in a lifetime of hard work and deserve to enjoy their golden years. That’s what Medicare is all about. That’s why we need to strengthen and preserve it for future generations. And as long as I have the honor of serving as your President, that’s exactly what I’ll do.

Thanks, and have a great weekend.


  5 Responses to “Weekly Address 08-25-12”

  1. So why did he take $715 Billion from it to fund Obamacare? He is going to take the best Medicare program away from the seniors – Medicare C – or Medicare Advantage as it is more commonly known. This side of Medicare is so heavily regulated, monitored, and controlled that there is very little fraud associated with it and the beneficiaries have better health outcomes – yet – he is cutting this program heavily. He is taking money from the seniors who need it to fund healthcare for the young who don’t need it and should be working to pay for their own insurance.

  2. Actually, no. You would know if you listened to something other than right wing propaganda that the money the Affordable Care Act takes from Medicare is wasteful spending, needless overhead, and other unnecessary things. Rather than taking away from Medicare, the ACA adds to it… things like no cost health screenings, filling the prescription drug donut hole, etc. So, unlike the Romney/Ryan plan which would actually destroy Medicare (turning it into a coupon system) and end up costing seniors an additional $6,000 per year for health care, Obamacare adds to and enhances the program. You really need to start listening to something other than Republican campaign ads. 🙂

  3. @ Len:
    Thanks for clearing that up Len. I’ve only been in healthcare for 25 years and the last 12 spent in compliance. I work for an MA-PD health plan now. Obamacare severely reduces MA-PD plans and does nothing to close the donut-hole. Beneficiaries still have to pay $4,750 out of pocket before they reach the catastrophic coverage phase and it is set to raise to $5,000 in 2014 – when that part of the ACA is actually supposed to start. What you are calling “wasteful spending” is the meat of Part C – physician reimbursement. By reducing physician reimbursement – they are going to stop taking Part C which will force the patients back in to that wasteful program we call Original Medicare. You might actually know if you listened to something other than left-winged progressive talking points and actually read the law – which I had to do – cover to cover. All Part C Medicare patients already had the benefit of no-cost health screenings since its inception in 1997. It is an HMO plan that covers everything that Medicare does plus a lot of things that Medicare doesn’t – for no additional cost. There are approximately 47 Million people enrolled in Medicare and of that there are about 11 Million people enrolled in MAPD plans. So – about 24% of the Medicare eligible people are enjoying the extended benefits. Part C is so efficient and cost effective – if Obama really cared about the seniors and about eliminating “overhead, and other unnecessary things” in addition to the approximately $25 billion/yr in medicare fraud – he would be moving everyone in to MAPD plans – not forcing them out of through the defunding of it in the ACA. Hey, but what do I know? I only live it.

  4. @ The BoBo:

    You might actually know if you listened to something other than left-winged progressive talking points

    I live in Texas. Pray tell when and where am I ever going to listen to “left-winged progressive talking points”?

    actually read the law

    Believe me, I have. Several times. Despite my looks, I am not nearly as dumb as you seem to think I am.

    I’ve only been in healthcare for 25 years and the last 12 spent in compliance. I work for an MA-PD health plan now.

    Congratulations. I hope you find some good use to put it all toward.

    P.S. Here is an article in which you may interested: The Definitive Guide to the Medicare Debate. Then again, you may just write it off as another “left-winged progressive talking point.”

  5. @ Len:
    🙂 LOL – you do realize I only said:

    “You might actually know if you listened to something other than left-winged progressive talking points”

    because you first said:

    “You would know if you listened to something other than right wing propaganda”

    I do know you live in Texas. I believe you told me that before. But, I also know there are some pretty liberal areas in Texas as well.

    If you did read the law, then there is one area (well, I should say a magnitude of areas) in there that should be frightening to both sides of the aisle – the fact that most of the bill is left up to the discretion of the Secretary of DHHS. It isn’t limited to the Secretary of just this administration. If ACA stays as it is – it can continue to be revised and changed every time another new Secretary comes in. What was in place one during the term of a liberal president can be reversed and modified by a future administration of a conservative president. This isn’t exactly a good bill when the entire structure of the American healthcare system under this law can be changed at the whims of one person.

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