Congressman Cuellar Votes to Protect Seniors from Spike in Medicare Premiums
House passes Medicare Premium Fairness Act to protect 11 million seniors
Congressman Henry Cuellar today voted to pass the Medicare Premium Fairness Act which could spare 11 million seniors from unexpected increases in their 2010 Medicare Part B premiums. Without congressional action, these seniors could see increases between $15 and $30 a month.Congressman Henry Cuellar (TX-28) today voted to pass the Medicare Premium Fairness Act which aims to spare 11 million seniors from unexpected increases in their 2010 Medicare Part B premiums. Without congressional action, these seniors could see increases between $15 and $30 a month.
“We have an obligation to protect our seniors and their health care,” said Congressman Cuellar. “This act aims to save over ten million seniors from a harsh increase in their Medicare premiums. This is good news for seniors on fixed incomes.”
With this action (and if passed into law), 2010 Part B Premiums would remain at $96.40 per month. Among those seniors who would benefit from this bill are low-income dual eligibles, new Medicare enrollees and enrollees whose Medicare premiums are not deducted from their Social Security checks.
Due to the recession, the cost of living adjustment for Social Security will likely be zero in 2010. Nearly three quarters of Medicare enrollees are protected from increases because their Medicare Part B premiums cannot rise above the Social Security cost of living adjustment (COLA). But 11 million other Part B enrollees don’t fall under the same protections and would be required to pay the increase for those who do.
“It is unfair to ask one group of seniors to carry the burden for another,” said Cuellar. “This act makes it fair for all seniors in the Medicare Part B program.”
Currently, 42 million seniors and people with disabilities are enrolled in Medicare Part B, which covers physician services and outpatient care. Low-income seniors who receive benefits from both Medicare and Medicaid, new Medicare enrollees, and seniors with incomes above $85,000 (if they are single) and $170,000 (for couples) are now protected under this act passed by the House by a vote of 406 to 18.
If passed by the Senate, H.R. 3631 would move to the President for his signature and pending his approval the Medicare Premium Fairness Act would become law.
Currently, the bill is endorsed by groups such as AARP, the National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare, the Center for Medicare Advocacy and the Alliance for Retired Americans.
For more information on H.R. 3631, the Medicare Premium Fairness Act, please visit:
Congressman Henry Cuellar is a member of the U.S. House Homeland Security, Agriculture, and Government Oversight & Reform Committees in the 111th Congress. Accessibility to constituents, education, health care, economic development, and national security are his priorities. Congressman Cuellar is also a Senior Whip and member of the Blue Dog Coalition.