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Health care update: What does the Obama plan mean to seniors?

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President Barack Obama took the opportunity to specifically address seniors and the concerns they may have over the changes he is proposing to the nation’s health care system.

Obama promised not only to ensure Medicare is there for future beneficiaries, but to close the gap in prescription drug coverage that forces many seniors to pay thousands of dollars on medications. He urged seniors not to believe rumors that their benefits would be cut, declaring, “I will protect Medicare.”

As part of his proposal, Obama would create a commission to look for ways to cut costs and eliminate waste in the current Medicare system. He claimed that reducing costs through eliminating waste in Medicare and Medicaid would pay for most of his plan for these entities. The rest, he said, would be paid for with revenues from “the very same drug and insurance companies that stand to benefit from tens of millions of new customers.”

WOWK, a CBS affiliate in Charleston, S.C., sent a news crew to Charleston Gardens Assisted Living to get reactions from seniors. Those ideas sounded good to the seniors, but concerns and worries regarding the details on how to pay for the $900 billion plan left them confused.

One senior said, “it was a great speech.” Another added, “it sounds too good to be true. (Politicians) always say something, but they can’t come through with it.”

Additionally, Obama indicated that the commission would also help “everything from reducing hospital infection rates to encouraging better coordination between teams of doctors,” a step, he said, that will ensure that America’s seniors get the benefits they’ve been promised.

Chelsey Emmelhainz contributed to this article.


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