House Energy and Commerce Committee Chair Henry Waxman from California and Dina Titus from Nevada had shown once again their commitment to seniors when they introduced the Medicare Premium Fairness Act. This proposal would bar Medicare Part B rates from rising the 20%, which is allowed under the current law.
The House passed this proposal by a majority on September 24th. Unfortunately, it is meeting up with opposition in Congress by Republicans, the most notable being Senator Tom Coburn of Oklahoma. He objects to the passage of this legislation without further debate and discussion.
According to the Medicare law as it is currently, more than 10.5 million people enrolled in Part B will see a hike of anywhere between $110 to $120 per month. Cost-of-living increases would compensate for the increases. Unfortunately, there will be no adjustment next year and the new enrollees are not protected against the raise at any rate.
Senator Baucus, the Finance Committee Chair stated, “this legislation is a common-sense solution to protect seniors from paying dramatically higher Medicare premiums” in his statement on October 7th. Rates would remain at $96.40 per month.
Hopefully the debate will give way to common sense and our seniors will be protected.