Bennet Introduces Amendment to Protect & Strengthen Medicare for Seniors

Bennet, Harkin, Dodd, and Seniors Advocates Discuss How Senate Health Care Bill Will Provide Lower Cost, Better Care for Seniors

December 2, 2009

Michael Bennet, U.S. Senator for Colorado, today introduced his amendment to the Senate health care reform bill that would work to further protect and strengthen Medicare for seniors. Senators Richard Durbin (D-IL), Chris Dodd (D-CT), Tom Harkin (D-IA), Blanche Lincoln (D-AR), Evan Bayh (D-IN), Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Ron Wyden (D-OR), Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), and Mark Begich (D-AK) cosponsored the amendment.

The amendment states that nothing in the Patient Protection and Affordability Act will result in a reduction of guaranteed Medicare benefits. This amendment ensures that improvements to Medicare are made in the Senate health reform bill and extends the solvency of the program, lowering premium costs and improving care for seniors.

"We can no longer allow tired, old Washington tactics to get in the way of fixing our broken health care system. This bill is good for Colorado's seniors, despite special interest scare tactics," Bennet said. "This amendment makes clear that seniors' benefits are protected, their premiums costs are lowered and their preventive care is free of charge."

Senator Dodd said: "Medicare dollars should go to care for our seniors, but some defenders of the status quo want to continue to divert these dollars to insurance companies.  With health care reform - and especially with this amendment - we'll protect and strengthen the promise we make to our seniors - that they'll continue to be able to get the care they need, when they need it, from the doctor they like."

 "The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act preserves the Medicare program Seniors trust and protects the benefits on which they rely," said Harkin.  "Congressional Republicans have resorted to the politics of fear in their attempt to preserve a broken health care system that favors the insurance industry over working Americans.  But seniors know better and that's why groups like the National Committee to Protect Social Security and Medicare and the AARP are urging us to act on this legislation."

 "We simply must slow the increasing costs of health care if Medicare is to remain viable," said Congresswoman Barbara Kennelly.  "The McCain amendment doesn't move us one inch in that direction.  We support Senator Bennet's amendment because it protects Medicare for the future."

"The Alliance for Retired Americans calls on the Senate to reject the McCain motion - which would weaken Medicare and further pad the profits of the big insurance companies - and pass the Bennet Amendment that protects seniors and strengthens Medicare for years to come," said Edward F. Coyle, Executive Director of the Alliance for Retired Americans.

 The Senate health care reform bill will keep Medicare from going broke in 7 years by extending the life of the Medicare trust fund. The bill also cracks down on waste, fraud and abuse in the Medicare program, ends wasteful overpayments to insurance companies and improves the quality and affordability of care for seniors.

In an effort to strengthen these provisions, the Bennet amendment, S. Amdt. 2826, would clearly state that no provision in the Senate health care bill will take away the Medicare benefits promised by the government to seniors.

AARP Urges Passage of Bennet Amendment to Protect Medicare Benefits

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