We pass laws, we set up programs and yet when they don’t deliver what we expect, we seek to ignore them. In this case what Congress did in 2015 sets in motion a domino effect delaying the necessary premium increase for Medicare so that playing catch up will take years. But here we have a call to do it again making the problem worse.
“Shield people?” “Unintended consequences?” Congress knew exactly what it was doing when the hold harmless provision was put into effect … for some Medicare beneficiaries😕
So, we should extend hold harmless to all beneficiaries? Hey, I’m for that‼️ But wait, who is to pick up the rising Medicare costs that are no longer in the premiums we pay?
Do we care⁉️
🔹🔹🔹 We are deeply concerned by the projected Part B premium and deductible increases, most notably for current and newly eligible beneficiaries living on low and fixed incomes. In 2014, half of the Medicare population lived on annual incomes of $24,150 or less.5 Newly enrolled Medicare beneficiaries, those not collecting Social Security benefits—many of whom are retired public servants—and state Medicaid programs should not be expected to carry the burden of paying for increased costs in Part B through higher premiums and cost sharing.
For those reasons, we urge you to advance a solution that will significantly lessen the projected Part B premium and deductible increases in 2017. Notably, we support an extension of the solutions included in the 2015 BBA. We also support extending the protections of the hold harmless provision to all beneficiaries.
As it did in 2015, Congress should make it a priority to shield people with Medicare from the unintended consequences resulting from the application of the hold harmless provision. No beneficiary should be forced to pay more than they otherwise would simply because some beneficiaries are afforded critical protections against reductions in their Social Security checks.
We urge Congress to act accordingly and swiftly following the announcement of the 2017 COLA. The longer Congress delays, the more uncertainty for our nation’s retirees, people with disabilities, and their families who are counting on you.