Honorable Steve Kagen, M.D.

Wisconsin's former 8th District Representative

January 4, 2007 to December 22, 2010

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Kagen Says Seniors Win With Health Care Reforms

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:       
July 28, 2009

Contact:  Jake Rubin
(202) 225-5665

KAGEN:  SENIORS  WIN  WITH  HEALTH  CARE  REFORMS

(WASHINGTON, DC)  Congressman Steve Kagen, M.D. is protecting seniors in Northeast Wisconsin in his efforts to reform our health care delivery system.

“We are strengthening Medicare by ending all copayments and deductibles for prevention services, and we are closing the donut hole in Medicare Part D.  We are improving care for all senior citizens” said Dr. Kagen.

The America’s Affordable Health Choices Act fills the “donut hole” in Medicare Part D (prescription drug benefit) by combining a proposal to discount brand name drugs to fully eliminate the crippling “donut hole” over time.  The House Energy and Commerce Committee estimates that 11,600 senior citizens in the 8th District of Wisconsin would avoid the “donut hole” in Medicare Part D under this bill as now drafted.

The term “donut hole” refers to a coverage gap within the defined standard benefit under the Medicare Part D prescription drug program. Under the defined standard benefit package, there is a gap in coverage between the initial coverage limit and the catastrophic coverage threshold. Within this gap, the beneficiary pays 100% of the cost of prescription drugs before catastrophic coverage kicks in.

“I am working hard to guarantee access to affordable care for all of us,” said Kagen.  “The current version of the health reform bill is already good, and I am fighting hard to make it even better.  It brings an end to discrimination against citizens with pre-existing medical conditions, institutes transparency in pricing and reduces costs for care by focusing on the elimination of wasteful practices,” Dr. Kagen said.

America’s Affordable Health Choices Act will eliminate billions in unwarranted subsidies to insurance companies in the Medicare Advantage program.  It will reward doctors for the quality, not just the quantity, of care they provide by reforming the sustainable growth rate system in Medicare’s physician fee schedule to eliminate the 21% cut in physician fees planned for 2011.  The proposed legislation will also emphasize prevention and wellness, so that instead of just spending billions on costly treatments when people get sick, we give them the care they need to stay well.

The legislation will also extend Medicare’s solvency by five years or more by improving payment accuracy, expanding funding and authority to fight waste, fraud and abuse and eliminating overpayments to private plans.

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