Congressman Blumenauer is a strong supporter of Medicare and has continually opposed Republican legislation that would diminish or “voucherize” Medicare benefits to seniors and people with disabilities.
As a member of the Committee on Ways and Means, which has jurisdiction over Medicare policy, he has deep concerns about the effects of escalating health care costs. Medicare expenditures have been growing at an unsustainable rate which is not only contributing to the insolvency of the Medicare trust fund, but is creating to higher out-of-pocket costs for seniors.
Oregon provides low-cost, high-quality health care and can be a model for the country as we work to improve value nationwide. In fact, health care in Portland, OR costs Medicare half as much as in cities like McAllen, Texas. This difference in spending demonstrates that there is ample room for reforming Medicare without reducing benefits.
The answer to rising health care costs is not to reduce Medicare benefits. Congressman Blumenauer has been working to reform how Medicare operates to improve the quality and value of health care. Currently, the Medicare payment system rewards doctors for the volume of procedures and services, not the value or quality of care or investments that improve care coordination. We need to tackle these perverse incentives so that seniors and people with disabilities are getting the right care in the right place at the right time.
The new health care law includes numerous programs to improve the quality and value of health care and end financial incentives that are counterproductive to these goals. It encourages teams of providers to better coordinate care and work together to manage a patient’s overall health. Beneficiaries will now have free preventive services and prescription drugs will be more affordable as we close the donut hole.