Senator Tom Coburn Warns Seniors About Medicare Changes

Thursday, July 8th 2010, 4:15 pm
By: News On 6

By Dan Bewley and Scott Thompson, The News On 6

TULSA, OK -- Senator Tom Coburn is continuing his fight against the President's health care reform law. The Oklahoma Republican calls the legislation 'bad medicine,' and today he took his message to a group of Tulsa senior citizens.

Dozens of seniors at Inverness Village listened to the Senator Coburn Thursday morning. He told them to beware the new health care reform law will make major changes to Medicare.

"We now have $13 trillion worth of debt," said Senator Tom Coburn (R)-Oklahoma.

A packed house at Inverness Village listened to Coburn, many wondering how Medicare will be impacted by the new health care reform law.

"I was interested in what's going to happen because I don't understand it at all," said Natalie Brundred, an Inverness Village Resident.

4/14/2010 Related Story: Medicare Changes Coming For Oklahoma Senior Citizens 

"My concern is it's bankrupt, and how are they going to pay for Medicare in the future? So far in debt already, yet they're pulling money from it continually," said Inverness Village resident Kay Meyerhoff.

Senator Coburn says the important thing for seniors to keep in mind is the change should not impact the older generation; it will most likely impact people of his generation.

"If they're very young they should be very worried; if they're old they should not," Coburn said.

Some of the changes include improving prevention benefits: among those are free annual wellness visits and a personalized prevention plan. It also creates a payment advisory board to recommend ways to reduce spending.

The plan will slowly cover what's called the "doughnut hole" to reduce the co-insurance rate to 25% in 10 years.

But what has Senator Coburn worried is it reduces the payments to Medicare Advantage, the plan that runs through a private company and offers additional benefits.

"They're gutting Medicare Advantage, which to poor Oklahoma seniors is a blessing and a life hand for them to have things they otherwise wouldn't have because they cannot afford a supplemental Medicare policy," Coburn said.

Healthcare providers are also worried about how it will be funded, saying there are several items included in the budget with no tax base to support them.

"Ultimately at some point that's going to catch up with the system that could potentially lead to a denigration of quality of care," said Scott Bushong of Inverness Village.

Senator Coburn's Report on the new Health Care Reform Law