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Impact of Supreme Court Ruling on Medicare in NC

June 29, 2012

CARY, N. C. – Thursday's Supreme Court ruling upholding the Affordable Care Act (ACA) is expected to mean changes for Medicare. The ACA offers Medicare rebates to some beneficiaries, increases the affordability of drugs, and will reimburse hospitals based on the quality of care they provide, versus the quantity.

This comes as Congress considers various proposals to change the Medicare program. Currently, more than 1.5 million North Carolina seniors and people with disabilities use Medicare. In Cary, senior Fillmore Bowen says the court's ruling brings new perspective to the proposals.

"There are lots of proposals on the table to strengthen Medicare, and to do things that make it a very a strong-for-the-future program."

Among the ideas being considered: raising the age limit for Medicare eligibility. It is estimated that would reduce Medicare costs by 5 percent over the next 20 years. Another proposal would raise health care premiums for higher-income seniors.

At AARP North Carolina, Medicare expert Helen Savage says the ruling will likely increase the number of Americans eligible for Medicare – and consequently, the demands on the program.

"It's critical that the programs be done right, and it's critical that they be done in a way that is not disruptive for people who are currently receiving services."

In its analysis of the Medicare proposals, AARP says the ACA will close the coverage gap in prescription drug coverage, expand the number of people eligible for preventive care, and also eliminate any discriminatory health insurance practices based on age or preexisting conditions.

Stephanie Carroll Carson, Public News Service - NC