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Sen. Johnson lauds senior citizens saving money under new health care law

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Sen. Tim Johnson said an announcement from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) on Monday regarding the significant amount of money seniors are saving on health care is welcome news.

CMS announced that due to the new health care law, which Johnson, D-S.D., supported, South Dakotan Medicare recipients have saved an average of $589 per person on prescription drug costs and more than 80,000 have taken advantage of free preventive care.

"These numbers just go to show how beneficial the Affordable Care law has been to our state," he said.

"More than 65 percent of South Dakotans on Medicare have taken advantage of free preventative services such as mammograms and prostate cancer screenings," Johnson said. "And those with Medicare prescription drug coverage have saved an average of $589 in discounts on brand-name drugs."

CMS announced that as of the end of November, more than 24.2 million Medicare beneficiaries have taken advantage the free preventive coverage made possible by the Affordable Care law. In South Dakota, the number of people with Medicare who have benefited from the preventive care is 81,349.

Recognizing that prevention is both cheaper and more effective than treating illness, the Affordable Care law eliminates co-payments for recommended preventive benefits like immunizations, cancer screenings and new annual wellness visits for beneficiaries with traditional Medicare.

"Through the Affordable Care law, we have made health care more obtainable and affordable," said Johnson. "This week's announcement shows that seniors in our state are already seeing considerable savings."