Remember The Doughnut Hole

by Stuart Shapiro

When Medicare was expanded to cover prescription drugs in 2003, there was a “doughnut hole” in the coverage requiring seniors to pay a significant chunk of their expenses.  The Affordable Care Act closed that hole.  And if it is repealed either by Republicans in Congress or the Supremes?

A new HHS report indicates that 3.6 million Medicare enrollees saved a total of $2.1 billion in 2011 thanks to these ACA provisions. And since the discounts are phased in slowly between 2010 and 2020, the savings will only increase in the future.

If ACA is overturned by the Supreme Court, or is killed by a future Republican-controlled Congress, this very tangible benefit will go away, too. That’s worth remembering, particularly if you are talking to a senior who’s been besieged with “death panel” propaganda about the supposed threat ACA poses to Medicare benefits.

Bet Republicans who are telling seniors that they are the party that will protect Medicare are leaving out that little tidbit.

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