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To the Editor:

     Rounds spreads fabrications about health care

Former governor Mike Rounds in his campaign for a Senate nomination has been running an ad in which he charges that the Affordable Care Act  (Obamacare) "stole" $700 billion from Medicare and therefore harms South Dakota seniors.  His claim is NOT TRUE. In fact, the reality is exactly the opposite.

Lets look at the facts. First of all, the claims are based on projected -- not actual -- Medicare spending 2013-2022. It is true that with the passage of the ACA the projected Medicare spending decreased by approximately $700 billion, BUT -- and here is the key fact -- Medicare benefits were actually increased. Coverage was added for preventive services and a process was put in place to close the "donut hole" in prescription drug coverage.  Furthermore, the life of the Medicare Trust Fund was extended.

In 2009, before the passage of the ACA, the Trust Fund was projected by the Medicare Trustees to become insolvent in 2017. The passage of the ACA pushed back the date of insolvency to 2026 (as reported by the Trustees in 2013). Don't get me wrong, that is not nearly good enough. We need to do more, but the ACA strengthened Medicare and put Medicare beneficiaries in a far better position than they would have been without it.

We have serious problems in our health care system. However, if we are to move forward, we need honest discussion on real problems and not fabricated ones like that presented by Gov. Rounds.