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Next week, Medicare celebrates its 48thbirthday.  Since 1965 Medicare has been a critical source of health and economic security for generations of Americans while evolving to meet the needs of those who rely on the successful program. Medicare brought millions of older Americans out of poverty, and continues to provide access to comprehensive health care … Read more

Created in 1956, the Social Security Disability Insurance Program (SSDI)[1] provides modest but essential support to 14 million working-age individuals with disabilities and children.[2] Recently, the SSDI program has come under attack by policymakers and others critics who suggest that the program's spending is "out of control." Critics contend that unless drastic changes are made, … Read more

Medicare beneficiaries are being denied access to Medicare’s skilled nursing facility (SNF) benefit because acute care hospitals are increasingly classifying their patients as “outpatients” receiving observation services, rather than admitting them as inpatients.  Patients are called outpatients despite the fact that they may stay for many days and nights in hospital beds and receive medical … Read more

Five years ago this month, the Medicare Improvements for Patients and Providers Act (MIPPA)[1] became law. Since then, MIPPA has successfully increased enrollment in the Medicare Savings Program and helped ensure that thousands of Medicare beneficiaries are able to afford necessary medical care. Despite MIPPA's success, Medicare low-income programs remain under-enrolled. Federal policy makers should … Read more

On June 27, 2013, the Federal Commission on Long-Term Care held its first meeting in Washington, DC.  The bi-partisan commission of 15 appointees, including Center for Medicare Advocacy Executive Director Judith Stein, was created by the American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012 (the so-called "fiscal cliff" bill).[1]  The Commission is tasked with developing "a plan … Read more

New SSA Rules on Gender Designation Last week, the Social Security Administration (SSA) published new rules that make it easier for the estimated 700,000 transgender Americans to update their Social Security records to reflect their gender designation. Prior to the new rules, individuals were required to submit documentation of specific surgeries in order to have … Read more

PROGRAM INTEGRITY: OVERSIGHT OF RECOVERY AUDIT CONTRACTORS United States Senate Committee on Finance Hearing June 25, 2013 Statement Submitted by the Center for Medicare Advocacy, Inc. The Senate Finance Committee’s June 25 hearing on the Recovery Audit Contractors (RACs) program highlights the high financial costs that the RAC program has imposed on acute care hospitals … Read more

On July 1, 2013, Medicare Part B will implement a national mail-order competitive bidding program specifically for diabetic testing supplies. [1],[2]  The program applies to all zip codes in the 50 United States, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, U.S. Virgin Islands, Guam and American Samoa.[3] Once implemented, beneficiaries in traditional Medicare[4] will purchase diabetic … Read more

On February 6, 2013, the Center for Medicare Advocacy’s founder and Executive Director, Judith Stein was appointed to serve on the newly formed national Commission on Long-Term Care, created as part of the American Taxpayer Relief Act (ATRA). The Commission is to consider and make recommendations to Congress about providing and financing long-term care for … Read more

Medicare's Durable Medical Equipment, Prosthetics, Orthotics, and Supplies (DMEPOS) Competitive Bidding Program is once again under attack.  Many questions have been raised about whether the program is fair to providers and whether beneficiaries will be able to obtain needed DMEPOS items.  Since its inception, the program has been repeatedly started and stopped by Congress.  While … Read more