September 08, 2010


COLUMBIA, MD -- U.S. Senator Benjamin L. Cardin (D-MD) today told seniors and members of the Howard County senior and health care advocate communities that a lot of misinformation has been circulated about the newly enacted Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act ,and that he was there "to set the record straight" about additional benefits for seniors in the new law that will save them money and help improve access to health care.  


 "Seniors are the biggest users of our health care system and that's why it's so important that all of you understand that the new law helps the Medicare program, reduces the deficit and provides additional benefits that will improve health care for all seniors," Senator Cardin told the audience at Vantage House.   "I want to be sure you have the facts so that you and your families can make informed decisions about the new law and your benefits."


  The health reform bill was signed into law on March 23 and it contains a number of provisions that will benefit seniors, including closing the Medicare Part D "donut hole" for prescription drug coverage by 2020, elimination of deductibles, co-pays and other cost sharing for preventive care beginning in 2011, free annual wellness checkups beginning in 2011, and the creation of a voluntary long-term care insurance program in 2012.  In 2014, the new law will institute a number of provisions, including the creation of a pathway for the approval of generic biologic drugs to lower the cost of medications, promotion of better care after hospital discharge, development of better reporting about quality of health care services and using provider payments to reward high-quality, efficient health care.  


In addition to the new benefits for seniors contained in the health care law, Senator Cardin also pointed out key facts that seniors need to be aware of concerning the new law, such as:


·       There is no reduction of Medicare benefits;

·       The Congressional Budget Office has projected the new law will reduce the budget deficit;

·       Payment to doctors will not be cut; and,

·       Projections show that the new law will extend the solvency of the Medicare Trust Fund.