Current funding is insufficient to provide beneficiaries with the benefit they need and expect. Yet a final package can still achieve a significant down payment, and can provide much needed help for those with the lowest incomes and those with the highest costs.
At a minimum, however, any final conference agreement should not destabilize Medicare nor penalize those beneficiaries who choose to stay in the current Medicare program; should not create incentives for employers to drop retiree coverage; should ensure prescription drug coverage in all areas of the country; and should guarantee the same level of benefit to all beneficiaries regardless of income.
We believe that the conference process presents an extraordinary opportunity to achieve these goals. If, however, the final conference agreement does more harm than good, based on the concerns enumerated in this letter, we will not hesitate to oppose it. On the other hand, if our concerns are constructively addressed, we believe that the conference agreement has the potential to be better than the bills reported from either house. Congress will have taken an historic step and we could urge our members to support enactment of the final conference report into law, as well as to educate them about the new benefit and their enrollment options.
William D. Novelli