Congressman John Garamendi

Representing the 3rd District of California
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Congressman John Garamendi Highlights Savings for Seniors With No Increase in Medicare Part B Premium for Two Straight Years

October 15, 2014
Press Release

Since Enactment of the Affordable Care Act, Seniors Have Seen
Significant Savings and Better Benefits in Medicare

WALNUT GROVE, CA – Today, Congressman John Garamendi (D-CA-03), former Insurance Commissioner and health care advisor to President Clinton, highlighted the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announcement that there will be no increase in the Medicare Part B premium or deductible in 2015. This is a welcome departure from the early 2000s when these premiums took a rapidly growing amount of money out of the pockets of seniors.

“There is good news for America’s seniors, many of whom live on a fixed income. For the second year in a row, there will be no increase in the Medicare Part B premium – with the premium remaining at $104.90 for 2013, 2014, and 2015,” said Congressman Garamendi. “Similarly, for the second year in a row, there will also be no increase in the Medicare Part B deductible in 2015 – with the deductible remaining at $147.”

“Since the Affordable Care Act was enacted, seniors have experienced significant savings, including free preventative services, prescription drug discounts, and almost no growth in the Part B premium,” Garamendi added. “By contrast, in earlier years, seniors faced the burden of skyrocketing Medicare Part B premiums. Between 2000 and 2008, the Medicare Part B premium shot up 112 percent (jumping from $45.50 to $96.40). By comparison, the Medicare Trustees project that the premium will grow by only 10 percent from 2008 to 2016 (rising from $96.40 to $106.50) – or less than one-tenth of that rate.”

Part B premium growth has declined because of the dramatic slowdown in the growth of health care costs since the enactment of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Over the past four years, Medicare spending per capita has averaged only 0.8 percent a year – compared to an average growth rate of 6.3 percent a year from 2000 to 2008.

This announcement from HHS adds to the growing list of ways in which seniors with Medicare have experienced major savings, better benefits, and a more solvent program since the ACA was signed into law:

·         Because of the ACA, more than 8.3 million seniors with Medicare have saved more than $12 billion on their prescription drugs, an average savings of $1,443 per senior.

·         Because of the ACA, seniors now have free Medicare coverage of key preventative services, such as mammograms and colonoscopies. 37 million seniors received free preventative services through Medicare in 2013 alone.

·         Since the enactment of the ACA, the solvency of the Medicare Trust Fund has been extended by 13 years. Prior to the ACA, the Medicare Trustees projected that the Trust Fund would be exhausted by 2017. In their latest report, the Medicare Trustees projected that the fund will remain solvent until 2030.

The health care reform law is supported by prominent senior citizens’ organizations, including AARP and the National Committee to Preserve Social Security & Medicare, because it protects and improves Medicare for older Americans.

Congressman Garamendi added, “I vividly remember the dark days before Medicare, watching impoverished seniors in the county ward who were simply warehoused and left to die. While today almost all seniors have health insurance coverage, before Medicare only about half had coverage. We can’t go back to those days. For that reason, I am committed to preserving and strengthening Medicare for our nation’s seniors.”