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Barack Obama Says Healthcare Reform Works For Seniors

The United States President Barack Obama said in a weekly radio address released on Aug 7 that the healthcare reform law he approved has started delivering benefits to Medicare beneficiaries.

The first thing Barack Obama brought up is a report issued this week by Medicare Trustees, which says that the solvency of Medicare can now be extended at least a dozen years, which Obama said is due to his healthcare reform.

In a release posted on medicare.gov Aug 5, Don Berwick MD, administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services says that in 2009, 46.3 million people used $509 billion with each enrollee given $11,743 on average.

Medicare expenditures in 2009 represented 3.5 percent of Gross Domestic Product.  Overall medical expenditure accounts for 16 percent of GDP, according to early reports. The medical expenses will soon take one in every five dollars in the United States.

Berwick said the Medicare costs were projected earlier to increase to over 11 percent of GDP by the end of the Long-range 75-year projection period. But the new report estimates that Medicare costs will be 6.4 percent of GDP in 2084.

Barack Obama said "We've made medicare more solvent by going after waste, fraud, and abuse - not by changing seniors guaranteed benefits."  He went on to say because of the healthcare reform, seniors' benefits are getting better all the time.

President Obama said Medicare beneficiaries who are hit by the so called doughnut hole - the gap in Medicare Part D drug coverage, are eligible now for a $250 rebate to help cover the cost of their prescription drugs. The doughnut hole will be closed in the coming years under the healthcare reform law.

In his speech, President Obama also touted the preventive care including annual physicals, wellness exams and tests like mammograms, which are provided by the healthcare reform law for seniors free of charge.

By Jimmy Downs