As we mark the Medicare’s 45th anniversary, Andy Griffith wants seniors to know, “More good things are coming.”
The beloved star of the 60’s sitcom, The Andy Griffith Show, speaks in the trademark reassuring tone that made him famous in this 30-second ad:
Senior citizens, as a group, have not been particularly supportive of health care reform. The trusted 86 year-old Griffith seems to be having a one-on-one conversation as he assures viewers:
“1965. A lot of good things came out that year — like Medicare. This year, like always, we’ll have our guaranteed benefits. And with the new health care law, more good things are coming, including free check-ups, lower prescription costs, and better ways to protect us and Medicare from fraud.”
Meanwhile, the White House released a statement that read, in part:
“The ad comes on the 45th anniversary of the Medicare program, an anniversary the President marked with a special proclamation. Secretary Sebelius has also written an op-ed about Medicare and the support it has provided to seniors for 45 years. And the new ad comes as we continue our work to implement provisions in the Affordable Care Act that will make the Medicare program even stronger. We know seniors will see tremendous benefits from the new law. Under the Affordable Care Act:
* Seniors guaranteed Medicare benefits will remain the same.
* Medicare beneficiaries who hit the prescription drug “donut hole” will receive a one-time, $250 rebate check. Hundreds of thousands of seniors have already received their check. And the donut hole will be closed completely by 2020.
* Preventive care services like colorectal cancer screenings and mammograms and an annual physical will be provided free of charge.
* Medicare pays Medicare Advantage insurance companies over $1,000 more per person on average than Original Medicare. These additional payments are paid for in part by increased premiums by all Medicare beneficiaries—including the 77% of seniors not enrolled in a Medicare Advantage plan. The new law eliminates these overpayments and starting in 2014, Medicare Advantage plans will be required to spend 85% of every dollar they receive on health care, not profits, overhead or administrative costs.
* By 2018, seniors will save an average of $200 per year and $200 in co-insurance compared to what they would have paid without reform.
* The new law extends the life of the Medicare Trust Fund by more than a decade.
As we worked to pass the Affordable Care Act, seniors were the target of a major misinformation campaign that was designed to scare and confuse older Americans about the real impact of reform. False rumors about death panels and cuts in benefits made the rounds. We are committed to correcting the record and ensuring seniors have the information they need and get the high-quality care they have earned and deserve.”
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi also released a statement on Friday, marking the 45th anniversary of Medicare and Medicaid being signed into law which read, in part:
“Forty-five years ago today, Democrats and Republicans came together to create Medicare and Medicaid. Unfortunately, that bipartisan tradition has now been lost, as Congressional Republicans not only oppose improvements to our seniors’ health care system, but pledge to repeal them and end Medicare as we know it – leaving seniors on their own to negotiate with insurance companies for coverage. Democrats will not let this happen. We will stand with America’s seniors to protect and strengthen Medicare now and in the future.”
The Andy Griffith Show ran from 1960 to 1968 and depicted life in the fictional town of Mayberry, North Carolina. Andy Taylor, played by Griffith, was the town’s sheriff and voice of reason. A perennial favorite, the show has been in reruns ever since, delighting generations of fans.
Mr. Griffith’s familiar smile just might garner some attention from seniors.
Photo from CMSHHS.gov video