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President Barack Obama WEEKLY ADDRESS: Preserving and Strengthening Medicare

August 27, 2012

In this weekís address, President Obama spoke to the American people about the critical need to strengthen and preserve Medicare for our seniors and future generations, because those who have worked hard throughout their lives should not lose their homes or life savings just because they get sick. Through the Presidentís Affordable Care Act, nearly 5.4 million seniors have already saved an average of more than $700 on prescription drugs, preventive care services like mammograms are free without co-pay, and the Presidentís plan extends the life of Medicare by almost a decade by cracking down on waste, fraud, and overpayments. Republicans in Congress have put forward a very different plan that turns Medicare into a voucher programóunder one plan forcing seniors to pay an extra $6,400 out of their own pocket for care-and effectively ends Medicare as we know it. The President believes that our seniors deserve better and will work with anyone to keep improving the current system to give our seniors the security and peace of mind they have earned.

Remarks of President Barack Obama
Weekly Address
The White House
August 25, 2012

Hi, everybody. Over the last few weeks, thereís been a lot of talk about Medicare, with a lot of accusations and misinformation flying around. So today I want to step back for a minute and share with you some actual facts and news about the program.

This week, we found out that, thanks to the health care law we passed, nearly 5.4 million seniors with Medicare have saved over $4.1 billion on prescription drugs. Thatís an average of more than $700 per person. And this year alone, 18 million seniors with Medicare have taken advantage of preventive care benefits like mammograms or other cancer screenings that now come at no extra cost.

Thatís progress. It means that seniors everywhere are getting the care they need for less. And if you have questions about what benefits youíre entitled to, you can go to www.medicare.gov to find out.

This news is also a reminder of whatís really at stake when we talk about the future of Medicare. Itís not about overheated rhetoric at election time. Itís about a promise this country made to our seniors that says if you put in a lifetime of hard work, you shouldnít lose your home or your life savings just because you get sick.

Over the last 47 years, millions of Americans have worked for that promise. Theyíve earned it. And for many seniors, the care theyíve gotten through Medicare has made all the difference in the world.

Growing up as the son of a single mother, I was raised with the help of my grandparents. I saw how important things like Medicare and Social Security were in their lives. And I saw the peace of mind it gave them.

Thatís why, as President, my goal has been to strengthen these programs now, and preserve them for future generations. Because todayís seniors deserve that same peace of mind. And the millions of Americans who are working hard right now deserve to know that the care they need will be available when they need it.

Thatís why, as part of the Affordable Care Act, we gave seniors deeper discounts on prescription drugs, and made sure preventive care like mammograms are free without a co-pay. Weíve extended the life of Medicare by almost a decade. And Iíve proposed reforms that will save Medicare money by getting rid of wasteful spending in the health care system and reining in insurance companies Ė reforms that wonít touch your guaranteed Medicare benefits. Not by a single dime.

Republicans in Congress have put forward a very different plan. They want to turn Medicare into a voucher program. That means that instead of being guaranteed Medicare, seniors would get a voucher to buy insurance, but it wouldnít keep up with costs. As a result, one plan would force seniors to pay an extra $6,400 a year for the same benefits they get now. And it would effectively end Medicare as we know it.

I think our seniors deserve better. Iím willing to work with anyone to keep improving the current system, but I refuse to do anything that undermines the basic idea of Medicare as a guarantee for seniors who get sick.

Here in America, we believe in keeping our promises Ė especially to our seniors who have put in a lifetime of hard work and deserve to enjoy their golden years. Thatís what Medicare is all about. Thatís why we need to strengthen and preserve it for future generations. And as long as I have the honor of serving as your President, thatís exactly what Iíll do.

Thanks, and have a great weekend.

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