In response to President Obama’s 2013 budget proposal announced Monday, AARP voiced concerns today that the budget may not have the best interests of seniors in mind.
“While AARP supports efforts to reduce health care costs, we oppose proposals that would either shift costs to seniors or simply reduce the hard-earned Medicare benefits that millions of seniors depend upon every day for their health security,” said AARP CEO A. Barry Rand in a written statement. “It is neither balanced nor fair to ask seniors, whose median annual income is less than $20,000, to contribute even more for their health care. The typical senior already pays nearly 20% of their income on health care.
The budget proposal calls for more Medicare payment and reimbursement reductions, in addition to cuts that have already been made. The report also points out that Medicare beneficiaries don’t currently make co-payments for home health services, and proposes creating a copayment of $100 per home health visit when there are five or more visits that haven’t been preceded by a hospital or other inpatient post-acute stay. This would begin in 2017 for new beneficiaries, and is expected to save approximately $350 million throughout a 10-year timeframe.
“As we thoroughly review the President’s plan in the coming days, we remain concerned about proposals that would not address high health costs, but would simply shift those costs to other payers, particularly Medicare beneficiaries,” Rand said. “We remain opposed to such cost-shifting, whether through higher copayments and deductibles, or through higher premiums, including further income relating the premiums of better-off seniors who already pay more for Medicare.”
Written by Elizabeth Ecker