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Letter: Strinden’s ‘facts’ not at all factual

AARP would like to clear up some misinformation about Medicare in a recent letter to the editor (“AARP backed Obamacare mess,” June 26). Earl Strinden’s letter appears to be based on a distortion-filled mass email that’s been making the rounds recently. We appreciate the opportunity to put the rumors to rest.

The patient described in the letter was admitted to the hospital on “observation” status, which, Strinden claims, “did not qualify him for Medicare coverage.” The fact is, Medicare patients who are admitted to the hospital for observation receive the same care that inpatients do, and Medicare still picks up most of the tab.

AARP and other consumer groups have serious concerns about other practices related to observation status. These practices began years before the Affordable Care Act was passed and have nothing to do with it. However, the claim that Medicare will not cover the costs of patients under observation in the hospital is false.

The worst fears about the health care law are proving to be unwarranted, and much has gotten better, including for people on Medicare. In fact, new protections and benefits in the health care law strengthen Medicare.

  • Medicare now covers many types of preventive care, including mammograms, colonoscopies and other screenings, free of charge. 
  • The doughnut hole coverage gap in Medicare’s prescription drug program is closing and will disappear by 2020.
  • The law cracks down on Medicare waste and fraud, saving the program millions of dollars.

We recognize that improving America’s health care system is a work in progress, but continued misinformation about the health care law will not move us forward. We encourage readers to visit for factual information on the health care law, including Medicare.

Cheney is state director, AARP North Dakota.