FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Monday, July 30, 2007
Contact: HHS Press Office
Statement by Mike Leavitt, Secretary of Health and Human Services, on the 42nd Anniversary of Medicare and Medicaid
Today we mark the 42nd anniversary of Medicare and Medicaid -- important programs that provide access to health care for the elderly, the poor, and the disabled in this nation.
In the last six years, we have instituted major changes to make these programs more effective and more efficient. Medicare has been transformed into a program that provides a prescription drug benefit, creates a greater focus on preventive benefits, and leads the movement toward more transparency in health care by providing price and quality information for the first time. There is also much more flexibility and innovation in the Medicaid program because of the new provisions in the Deficit Reduction Act of 2005.
Changes to the Medicare Advantage program, which allows beneficiaries to receive care through privately-administered health insurance, have resulted in even more seniors having more choices and better benefits in their health care. We should not take a step back from this significant progress -- which is what some in Congress are proposing to do through a massive expansion of the State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP) that would cut billions from Medicare Advantage. The benefits of more than 8 million seniors -- many of them minority beneficiaries, or beneficiaries with lower incomes or living in rural areas -- would be put at risk under legislation proposed in the House of Representatives. Medicare Advantage plans show proven success in providing better access to care, more preventative services, and high beneficiary satisfaction. They have also led the way in developing care management programs for chronic conditions, which are critical for the long-term sustainability of the Medicare program. Medicare Advantage should be preserved for the health of our seniors.
Note: All HHS press releases, fact sheets and other press materials are available at http://www.hhs.gov/news.
Last revised: February 27, 2009