HHS touts health reform with report on Medicare savings

The Patient and Affordable Care Act is resulting in major savings for Medicare patients, the Department of Health and Human Services said Friday.

The average person with traditional Medicare will save $5,000 between 2010 and 2022, an HHS report said. And people on Medicare who rely on expensive prescription drugs could save $18,000 or more because of health reform.

“I'm pleased the health care law is helping so many seniors save money on their prescription drug costs,” HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said in a statement. “A $5,000 savings will go a long way for many beneficiaries on fixed incomes and tight budgets.”

Sebelius also highlighted other senior benefits because of the law.

More than 5.5 million seniors and people with disabilities saved nearly $4.5 billion on prescription drugs since the law was enacted. Seniors in the Medicare prescription drug coverage gap known as the donut hole have saved an average of $641 in the first eight months of 2012 alone.

And more than 19 million people with original Medicare received at least one preventive service at no cost to them, she said.

Earlier this week, Sebelius also said that enrollment is up and premiums are down in Medicare Advantage as a result of the PPACA. She issued projections that MA enrollment will increase by 11 percent over the next year while premiums hold steady.

Meanwhile, Republicans dispute that health reform is being helped by the PPACA. Republican candidate Mitt Romney and running mate Paul Ryan –who are basing part of their campaign on repealing the PPACA—say the law will significantly weaken Medicare.

Conservative think tank The Heritage Foundation also said Sebelius is misleading the public with these reports as “Obamacare severely damages MA," they say, and "the law is projected to cut $156 billion is from the program between 2013 and 2022."



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