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2    WHEREAS, The Medicare Rights Center (MRC) published
3"Medicare: A National Treasure for Forty Years" (2005); the
4Medicare program was created as part of the Social Security
5Amendments of 1965, and the program will celebrate its 52th
6anniversary on July 29, 2017; and
7    WHEREAS, The MRC's findings are still valid, to wit: the
8Medicare program has become a national treasure, reflecting the
9nation's commitment to the health and independence of older
10Americans and Americans with disabilities by providing health
11care coverage to 45 million people; and
12    WHEREAS, The original design of the Medicare program - its
13universality, shared risk, simplicity, and dependability -
14created the foundation for its 50 years of success; Medicare's
15universal nature ensures that virtually all older Americans and
16many people with disabilities receive the health care they
17need, while Medicare pools risk in order to share the financial
18burdens of illness across healthy and sick individuals and
19affluent and low-income families; for 50 years, Medicare has
20guaranteed coverage for a defined set of benefits at a uniform
21and predictable cost to all seniors and to people with
22disabilities regardless of their income, health status, or
23where they live and has dramatically improved the quality of



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1life for millions of individuals; and
2    WHEREAS, Among the most important reasons to celebrate the
3past 50 years of Medicare are: (1) guaranteed access to care
4for people with Medicare; (2) improved quality of life for
5older Americans and people with disabilities; (3)
6administrative efficiency and cost containment; (4) critical
7support for America's healthcare system; and (5) guaranteed
8benefits and choice of providers; and
9    WHEREAS, Prior to Medicare, only half of older adults had
10health insurance; private insurers were unable or unwilling to
11provide comprehensive, affordable health care coverage to the
12growing aged population, who were either too old or too sick
13and therefore too high an insurance risk; through the guarantee
14of Medicare coverage, the federal government established
15protections for all people with Medicare that ensure that
16everyone - including those battling costly illnesses - have
17access to covered services; and
18    WHEREAS, Medicare is the second largest source of federal
19spending for HIV care and treatment, and approximately one out
20of every five HIV-positive Americans receiving regular medical
21care depends, at least in part, on the Medicare program; and
22    WHEREAS, Medicare has also improved access to care in other



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1ways; for example, Medicare was, and continues to be,
2instrumental in reducing disparities in access and coverage for
3racial and ethnic minority groups; and
4    WHEREAS, A 2001 survey demonstrates that people with
5Medicare are generally more satisfied with their health care
6than are persons under age 65 who are covered by private
7insurance; people with Medicare report fewer problems getting
8access to care, greater confidence about their access, and
9fewer instances of financial hardship as a result of medical
10bills; Medicare creates access to health care across many
11dimensions: access to physician services; access to necessary
12care; and reduced financial barriers to care; older Americans
13with Medicare experience comparatively fewer financial
14barriers to care; and
15    WHEREAS, By the year 2030, 20% of the U.S. population - 77
16million people - will be eligible for Medicare, compared to the
1714% of Americans who are Medicare-eligible today; while
18Medicare gives all Americans a sense of security knowing their
19parents, grandparents, friends and neighbors can access the
20health care they need, before long the next generation of
21Americans will need to count on Medicare too; and
22    WHEREAS, Thanks to Medicare, millions of Americans are able
23to afford life-saving care, but Medicare also improves the



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1quality of life for older Americans in other ways; for example,
2Medicare is also a social safety net that has lifted millions
3of people out of poverty; in fact, since Medicare was created
4in 1965, poverty among the elderly has been reduced by nearly
5two-thirds; by financing health care services, Medicare
6safeguards beneficiaries and their families from the ruinous
7costs of medical treatments and prevents individuals from
8spending unmanageable proportions of their incomes on medical
9care or being pushed into poverty by their medical bills; in
10addition, life expectancy has increased by three years and more
11people are living past the age of 85 than ever before, while
12disability rates among the elderly are decreasing; with
13improvements in Medicare coverage for preventive services,
14such as breast and prostate cancer screening, and advances in
15care management for people with chronic conditions, further
16reductions in morbidity and disability can be expected; and
17    WHEREAS, Equally important in assessing Medicare's success
18is Medicare's cost-effectiveness; Medicare has consistently
19contained health care costs better than private health plans;
20analysis of cumulative spending over a 30-year period further
21illustrates Medicare's ability to control costs over time;
22Medicare has been able to accomplish this cost-containment
23record, in part, by using its resources more efficiently,
24assessing the clinical effectiveness of services when making
25coverage decisions and when setting payment rates for certain



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1services; and
2    WHEREAS, Medicare's payment structure supports the United
3States' health system infrastructure; for example, Medicare
4supports the nation's teaching hospitals and educational
5opportunities for health care professionals, through enhanced
6payments; by supporting graduate education for physicians and
7other providers, Medicare benefits all Americans, whether or
8not they are covered by Medicare; Medicare also provides extra
9support to hospitals that serve a disproportionate number of
10low-income patients and to rural hospitals, which are often
11more heavily dependent on Medicare reimbursement than other
12facilities; Medicare also provides enhanced payments to rural
13health clinics and Federally Qualified Health Centers in
14medically underserved areas to ensure that care is available
15for vulnerable people; and
16    WHEREAS, Medicare is the largest single payer for services
17provided by the 7,000 home health agencies nationwide;
18moreover, Medicare is an essential part of the entire U.S.
19economy as well as a pillar of the health system; and
20    WHEREAS, Medicare is simple, popular and reliable; seniors
21are very satisfied with the Medicare program; Medicare's
22success is related to the unparalleled choice and availability
23of physicians and health care services that it offers people;



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2    WHEREAS, Medicare has served Americans well; it is equally
3available to all seniors and to people with disabilities,
4regardless of health or financial status, and realizes the
5right to health care for many of America's most vulnerable
6individuals; Medicare continues to symbolize a rational, just
7and systematic approach to health care access for all
8Americans; and
9    WHEREAS, The enactment of the Medicare Prescription Drug,
10Improvement, and Modernization Act of 2003 (MMA) has prompted
11significant changes to the Medicare program; the MMA
12established a new outpatient prescription drug benefit -
13Medicare Part D - for people with Medicare coverage, and
14replaced Medicaid drug coverage with the new Part D program for
15people who receive health coverage from both Medicare and
16Medicaid; therefore, be it
19celebrate the past 50 years of Medicare and urge the United
20States Congress to make sure that the millions of seniors and
21Americans with disabilities who rely on it will be able to
22enjoy its dependability and simplicity in the years to come;
23Medicare's successes to date should guide future changes to the



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1program, so that it can continue to ensure access to care,
2improve quality of life, support the health care system, and
3enjoy broad support among the people whom it helps every day;
4and be it further
5    RESOLVED, That strengthening Medicare and improving the
6Medicare Part D drug program should be a vital part of any
7reform of the American health care system; and be it further
8    RESOLVED, That suitable copies of this resolution be
9delivered to President Donald Trump and each member of the
10Illinois congressional delegation.