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Senior group outraged over government recommendation to reduce Medicare benefits Posted: November 17th, 2010

By Maryalene LaPonsie

In early 2010, President Barack Obama created the National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform to develop solutions that may ensure the long-term sustainability of the federal budget. Now, the commission has issued its draft report, and a senior advocacy group is crying foul.

Within the commission's proposal are recommendations for changes to both domestic and foreign policies. RetireSafe, an organization of approximately 400,000, objects to suggestions that would tie Social Security increases to the Consumer Price Index, as well as reduce Medicare benefits.

The proposed changes to Medicare benefits include the following:

  • Eliminate first-dollar coverage in Medigap supplemental health insurance plans
  • Replace the current Medicare cost-sharing model with a universal deductible and single co-insurance rate
  • Cap catastrophic coverage in Medicare Part A and Part B

The reforms could be expected to reduce the federal deficit by $85 million from 2011-2020. Other policy recommendations made by the commission include accelerating Medicare Advantage cuts and creating a premium support system for Medicare.

In a statement, RetireSafe President Thair Phillips said, "The Deficit Commission has chosen to put the burden of Washington's debt on the backs of those who are least able to bear it, America's older citizens."

The recommendations are currently in draft form and may be amended. In addition, any changes to Medicare benefits must be approved by Congress before going into effect.