Medicare Chief: Obamacare Is Extending Medicare’s Life

May 31, 2013 8:08 a.m.

The chief of Medicare on Friday credited Obamacare for continuing to help extend the life of Medicare after a new trustees’ report said it will be solvent for two years longer than expected.

The trustees’ report found that Medicare’s trust fund will remain fully solvent until 2026; last year’s projection was 2024. The two years comes on top of eight more years of initially projected solvency for Medicare due to the Affordable Care Act.

“The Medicare Hospital Insurance trust fund is projected to be solvent for longer, which is good news for beneficiaries,” said Marilyn Tavenner, who runs the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. “Thanks to the Affordable Care Act, we are taking important steps to improve the delivery of care for seniors with Medicare.”

The Affordable Care Act cuts Medicare spending by some $716 billion over the next 10 years by reducing payments to private insurers under Medicare Advantage as well as hospitals and other providers. The law also aims to save money over time by transitioning Medicare from paying providers for quantity of services to quality of care.

“These reforms aim to reduce spending while improving the quality of care, and are an important down payment on solving Medicare’s long term financial issues,” Tavenner said.

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In his statement on the Trustees report, Treasury Secretary Jack Lew also noted that Medicare’s solvency projections have changed after the passage of the Affordable Care Act.

Prior to Obamacare’s enactment, Medicare’s trust fund was projected to exhaust around 2016.

Obama administration officials, facing an unending barrage of attacks from Republicans seeking to cripple the law, have been quick to highlight its benefits — both budgetary and tangible for consumers. The latest trustees’ report gives them a new argument in its favor.

Republicans have been back and forth on Obamacare’s Medicare cuts, attacking them in political contexts but assuming the same level of savings in their budget proposals.

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