By Tony Fransetta

Access to health care for all seniors is important. Having a Medicare system that works? Crucial.

As we age, visits to doctors’ offices increase. Before President Johnson signed Medicare into law 44 years ago, many seniors lacked health care because of the cost. Imagine! But now, through Medicare, our federal government provides a valuable program for seniors and people with disabilities to improve their medical well-being. Coverage has helped reduce senior poverty by two-thirds.

Since 2003 and the implementation of the Medicare Modernization Act, Medicare Advantage plans (code for private insurance companies) have taken a toll on traditional Medicare. These Medicare Advantage plans are reimbursed at a higher rate than traditional Medicare, sometimes as much as 17 percent higher. This cost is being paid out of the traditional Medicare fund and is a strain on the Medicare budget. Passage of health-care reform will reduce this overpayment to private insurance companies, thereby easing any burden on working families' tax dollars.

Click here to read the full Op-ed