Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Quick lessons to combat spin: True-False Sign

As pundits and politicians continue to discuss the deficit, misinformation and confusion about Medicare and the Affordable Care Act abound.  All too often, facts seem to be drowned out by fiction. Particularly since the Supreme Court upheld the Affordable care Act, we are hearing a lot of misinformation about the law and its impact on Medicare.  As these Myths make news — and old Myths make news again — the Center will respond with facts and information

The truth is, Medicare works.  By and large it has been a resounding, cost-effective success.  Nonetheless, Rep. Ryan and some candidates continue to propose changing Medicare into an individual voucher system that will hurt beneficiaries and their families, ignoring options for substantial savings that would not harm beneficiaries or eliminate the Medicare program. This is particularly worrisome since half of all people with Medicare have annual incomes below $24,150, and already pay more out-of-pocket for health care than people with private insurance. 

To help dispel misinformation and try to set the discussion on a factual foundation, we’ve rounded up erroneous statements and countered them with the truth. 

Help us set the record straight, shine light on fair, financially-sound policies, and demonstrate how Medicare works for millions of Americans – including your family and neighbors.  Spread the word with our handy reference chart below, or from the more detailed articles that follow.


The Myth

The Truth

Here's Why

The Affordable Care Act cuts $716 Billion from Medicare.

The Affordable Care Act does NOT cut Medicare for beneficiaries.

The Affordable Care Act[1] achieves savings in the Medicare program through a series of payment reforms, service delivery innovations, and increased efforts to reduce fraud, waste, and abuse. The actual projected reduction in Medicare spending is largely a result of reducing overpayments to private Medicare plans that have been paid more than traditional Medicare.

[1] The health care reform law: Pub.L.111-148, the Patient Protection and Affordability Care Act of 2010 (PPACA), on March 23, 2010, and Pub. L. 111-152, the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act of 2010 (HCERA), on March 30, 2010.

The Affordable Care Act does not address Medicare's future problems

The Affordable Care Act actually extends the life of the Medicare trust fund by about a decade.

Saving on wasteful overpayments now means there will more future funds for legitimate coverage.

See: CBO March 20, 2010; Joint Committee on Taxation Revenue Estimates, JCX-17-10 (March 20, 2010).

The Affordable Care Act is a “government takeover” of health care.

The Affordable Care Act is not a government takeover.  In fact, ACA will help people buy private insurance.

ACA allows individual states to set up “exchanges,” or marketplaces, where private insurance companies will compete to offer affordable health coverage for those who do not have and cannot afford it currently. People who have insurance can keep their plans, but will have more consumer protections as a result of ACA – including a ban on being dropped due to pre-existing conditions.

The Affordable Care Act will bust the budget and add to our nation’s deficit.

The Affordable Care Act lowers our nation’s deficit.

The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) has estimated that ACA will actually reduce the deficit by over $130 billion in the next decade through a series of payment and quality reforms. CBO also reported that repealing ACA would increase the deficit.

Medicare benefits will be cut along with payments to Medicare doctors.

The Affordable Care Act improves benefits in Medicare.

ACA outlines new benefits and improvements to the Medicare program, including eliminating the Donut Hole coverage gap for prescription drugs, adding an annual Wellness visit, and increasing free preventive services for beneficiaries.

The Affordable Care Act will force millions to be dropped from their health insurance Americans will not be required to drop their current insurance.

The law protects the ability of families and employers to keep their current health plans. In fact, most of the 133 million Americans with health coverage through large employers will maintain their coverage.  However, they, and all people with health insurance, WILL be included in ACA's consumer protections.

Monthly Medicare Part B premiums are set to jump to $247 in 2014 under the Affordable Care Act. The Affordable Care Act did NOT change the calculation of the Part B premium at all.

The Balanced Budget Act of 1997 permanently set standard Part B premiums to cover 25% of projected per capita Part B program costs for beneficiaries aged 65 and older.  If projected Part B costs increase or decrease, the premium rises or falls.  ACA didn’t change this.

There is no way to predict the premium for future years, as they are based around total costs and are tied to the cost-of-living. The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) announces the Part B premiums for the next year at the end of the prior year.

Monthly Medicare Part B premiums may increase, may stay the same, or may even decrease, depending on formulas IN PLACE BEFORE ACA.

The Affordable Care Act will force Americans to pay for free healthcare to undocumented immigrants The Affordable Care Act expressly bars undocumented immigrants from accessing health coverage or assistance.

ACA requires the Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) to establish a program that will determine whether individuals are lawfully present in the United States if they apply for coverage in the exchanges, or for subsidies to help pay for insurance. DownloadAsset.aspx?id=2189

More Medicare and Health Care Myths and Truths

Stay in touch, be informed! Subscribe to our blog, follow us on Twitter and Facebook – and be sure to sign up for our informative CMA Alert.