Mark's Newsletter Update: Keeping our Promise to Seniors
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Dear Fellow Coloradan,
Under the leadership of President Franklin Roosevelt and later President Lyndon Johnson, the New Deal and Great Society programs -- Social Security, Medicare, and the Older Americans Act, just to name a few -- helped America lift people out of crushing poverty during difficult times in our history. Since that time, those programs have provided Americans with peace of mind, knowing that, when they work hard and provide for their families, these programs will be there to provide basic income and health care when they’re in their golden years.
These programs are steadfast rocks of our society, and, just like most Coloradans, I believe they must be protected and strengthened for future generations. I am particularly proud of the work we have done since I was elected to the U.S. Senate to shore up and improve the Medicare program, as well as the work I have done and will continue to do as a member of the Senate’s Special Committee on Aging.
Improving Medicare: Implementation of the Affordable Care Act is already lowering costs and improving access to care for Colorado senior citizens. Read below for details.
Defending Medicare: Whether it means voting to preserve payments for doctors who serve Medicare patients, pushing for a long-term solution to those doctors' reimbursements, or opposing dangerous proposals that would dismantle the Medicare system as we know it, I will continue defending this critical program.
Improving the Older Americans Act: Following a hearing in Pueblo that I chaired in August 2010, I continue to play an active role, through my seat on the Senate Special Committee on Aging, in improving the Older Americans Act to ensure the supports and services its programs provide are accessible to the thousands of Colorado seniors who depend on them.
Ensuring the Solvency of Social Security: I am committed to ensuring that the Social Security program will be solvent for generations to come.
America faces immense budget deficits and a spiraling debt -- and this trajectory of increased borrowing threatens not only our economy and recovery, but also those great American programs that are so important to millions of us.
I've been working around the clock -- with senators from both sides of the aisle -- to get our economy humming again. In doing so, I've also made it clear to congressional leaders that we need to have an adult conversation about reducing our long-term debt while focusing on creating jobs. This is an urgent matter, and we must address these important issues now -- kicking the can down the road is dangerous and irresponsible. Coloradans expect better from their elected leaders.
As we sort through the many proposals to reduce our national debt, ensuring the sustainability of Medicare and other important programs for our seniors is one of my top priorities. Keeping the promise to Americans that began with the New Deal and expanded with the Great Society programs is a lens through which I will review every plan that comes across my desk.
As a result of the Affordable Care Act, enacted in March 2010, we are cracking down hard on fraud and abuse, and pushing the Medicare program to begin paying doctors for quality care instead of more care. Reforms have also improved benefits that are already saving Colorado seniors money and keeping them healthier. Some of these improvements include:
- Beginning this year, Colorado Medicare enrollees will have access to free preventive tests and services like mammograms and cancer screenings as well as a free annual wellness visit to their doctors.
- We also took the important step of closing the Medicare Part D prescription drug coverage gap, or “donut hole,” which began with a $250 check in 2010 for all Colorado seniors affected. This year, these seniors are seeing a 50 percent discount on brand-name prescriptions, and it has already saved Coloradans who have hit the gap this year an average of $800.
- I’m also proud we're providing lower premiums on Medicare Part B for all 622,807 of our state’s Medicare beneficiaries in 2011, which will save nearly $36 million on premiums for Colorado enrollees this year alone.