House Passes Bill To Eliminate Medicare Premium Hike

"The House voted overwhelmingly Thursday to eliminate monthly premium increases for millions of Medicare patients next year," The Associated Press reports. "It voted 406 to 18 to send the bill to the Senate, which is expected to act soon. Lawmakers said older Americans shouldn't have to pay higher Medicare Part B premiums because they are not expected to get a cost of living increase from Social Security." Most Medicare recipients are already "exempt from Part B premium increases because of a hold-harmless provision that kicks in when there is no increase in Social Security. Still, several million would face monthly premium increases of $8 to $23, without congressional action. The standard monthly premium is $96.40 this year."

House Majority leader Steny Hoyer, D-Md., voted against the measure, "saying it would mainly help wealthy Medicare recipients. 'If we take care of everybody, we won't be able to take care of those who need us most,' Hoyer said" (Ohlemacher, 9/24).

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