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CT Sen. Ted Kennedy, Jr. presents Center for Medicare Advocacy Executive Director Judith Stein with a citation at the Center's 30th anniversary party.

On Wednesday, April 13, 2016 the Center for Medicare Advocacy held a reception at the Connecticut State Capitol to celebrate 30 years working for fair access to Medicare and health care.  The gathering included Center staff and alumni, representatives from both the state and federal government, other advocates, and provider organizations.

Center for Medicare Advocacy executive director Judith Stein opened the evening with gratitude and best wishes for Connecticut’s health care advocacy network, which she called “one of the tightest and brightest in the nation.”

“We’ve come a long way since I started the Center in one room 30 years ago,” Ms. Stein continued. “Thanks to all our colleagues, we’ve made a real difference for older and disabled people nationwide.”

Ms. Stein then introduced the evening’s keynote speaker, Connecticut State Senator Ted Kennedy, Jr.  Senator Kennedy explained his own passion for ensuring access to healthcare, particularly for people with disabilities, and congratulated the Center for embracing the mission with the same zeal.  The Senator went on to thank the Center, and Ms. Stein in particular, for their work on the Jimmo v. Sebelius “Improvement Standard” case, which ensures that ongoing needed skilled care is not limited by an individual’s improvement, but can be delivered to maintain a condition or prevent it from getting worse.

After the Senator’s remarks there were video greetings from Connecticut’s entire Congressional delegation, including Sen. Chris Murphy, who thanked the center for getting him up to speed on health policy.  Rep. Rosa DeLauro and Sen. Richard Blumenthal, who recently worked with the Center to take on Medicare Advantage network adequacy issues offered gracious acknowledgment of the Center’s efforts.  Rep. John Larson expressed gratitude for the Center, and Ms. Stein in particular.  Reps. Jim Himes and Elizabeth Esty emphasized the value and importance of the Medicare program the Center works so hard to protect.  Rep. Joe Courtney thanked the Center, with whom he has long worked, for efforts on issues from Medicare Part D access to the ongoing Observation Status crisis.

The formal presentations concluded with a moving video from Steve Gleason, delivered through the use of his speech-generating device with eye-gaze technology, thanking the Center for its part in getting Medicare to change its policy to cover this technology. Steve is an extraordinary advocate and inspiration for people living with ALS and other debilitating conditions.

The Center thanks all the advocates, providers, legislators and staffers who have shared our mission for the past 30 years. We look forward to continuing to work together for access to Medicare and quality health care for years to come.

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