Since 1986, the Center for Medicare Advocacy has been a passionate educator and advocate, working to ensure access to Medicare and quality health care. In difficult times, we need your help to be the voice for those people who have nobody to speak for them.
In May, the House of Representatives passed the American Health Care Act (AHCA). The AHCA is so severe that the President is calling it “mean” and says the Senate should make it more generous and kind. (CNN Politics, 6/14/2017)
The House bill is certainly not kind or generous. It would roll back protections in the Affordable Care Act (ACA), leave 23 million people uninsured, significantly increase health costs for older adults age 50-64, undermine Medicare, and gut the Medicaid program.
Despite the wide-ranging impact of health care on families and the country – constituting roughly one-sixth of our economy – a handful of Senators are privately developing a bill, behind closed doors, with no hearings or opportunity for input. Based on information that has trickled out, the Senate bill is not likely to be more “kind” than the House AHCA. Indeed, according to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, the Senate bill would have “virtually the same overall harmful impacts as the House bill.”
The Senate is poised to pass a bill that will dramatically restructure Medicaid, with harsh cuts and caps on payments. This will be devastating for the most vulnerable older and disabled people and tens of millions of families. As noted in a recent Op-Ed in the New York Times,
…what has been largely missing from public discussion is the radical implications that such cuts would have for older and disabled Americans. […] nearly two-thirds of [Medicaid] spending is focused on older and disabled adults — primarily through spending on long-term care services such as nursing homes. (“You’re Probably Going to Need Medicaid” 6/13/2017)
The Times Op-Ed warned the anticipated Medicaid cuts would shift costs to families as well as to States and other federal programs, including Medicare. The authors conclude: “draconian cuts to Medicaid affect all of our families. They are a direct attack on our elderly, our disabled and our dignity.”
The Senate could pass this dreadful bill by its July 4th recess. Time is of the essence! Act now to insist on a true health care bill that supports the ACA, Medicaid, Medicare, and quality health coverage and care for all Americans.
Don't let the Senate gut health care! Contact your Senators and tell them to protect your care.
- Call your Senators: 1-866-426-2631. (Need Call scripts/talking points?)
- Follow up with an email using this handy tool from our friends at Families USA.
Ready to do more?
- Attend events and rallies in your state.
- Use social media to reach Senators, state and local policymakers and your networks
- Generate media coverage of this issue, including op-eds and letters to the editor
Thank you for helping #ProtectOurCare!
- Tell the New Administration Why Our National Healthcare Programs Matter!
What have these programs meant to you? If you could, what would you like to tell policy-makers about your experiences with Medicare, Medicaid and the Affordable Care Act? How have they helped you? How would you be harmed if they were taken away?
Tell your stories today at http://www.esurveyspro.com/s/390566/Share-Your-Healthcare-Story.
- Do you have an Improvement Standard Story?
Under the Jimmo Settlement Agreement, the Center for Medicare Advocacy and Vermont Legal Aid will be monitoring compliance with the terms of the settlement. We want to hear from you. Please keep us informed of your experiences, both positive and negative.
- Do You Have an Observation Status Story?
We need to show CMS that this problem affects thousands of people across the country, so in partnership with the John A. Hartford Foundation, we are collecting stories from the people who have been directly impacted. We hope to get at least a few stories from every state.
If you’ve been impacted by the use of “outpatient” Observation Status directly, or know someone who has, please take a few moments to submit your story at http://www.medicareadvocacy.org/submit-your-observation-status-story.
Then tell CMS that they created the problem of Observation Status, and they can fix it – Sign our Petition, below.
Support Medicare Coverage of Hearing Care
A June 2, 2016 report from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine called hearing loss a public health priority and social health responsibility. The Report’s findings demonstrate the urgent need to update Medicare coverage to reflect the serious health issues that stem from hearing loss.
Hearing loss affects nearly 30 million Americans, but only 1 in 5 people diagnosed with hearing issues have hearing aids – in large part because Medicare currently excludes coverage for hearing aids and related audiology services. Even mild hearing loss has been shown to double the risk of dementia. Further, hearing loss is directly related to a variety of cognitive impairments, isolation, depression, and increased risk for falls.
Legislation has been proposed which could close this gap in coverage:
- Rep. Debbie Dingell (D-MI) introduced the Medicare Hearing Aid Coverage Act of 2015 (H.R. 1653), which would allow Medicare to provide coverage for hearing aids.
- Rep. Jim McDermott (D-WA) introduced the Medicare Dental, Vision, and Hearing Benefit Act of 2016 (H.R. 5396) which would add hearing, vision and dental services to Medicare.
Contact your Representative today to urge their support for this important legislation.
Oral Health Care is Health Care!
Sign our petition to Remind CMS that Medicare should be covering Medically necessary oral health care.
- Medicare was created to help older people and people with disabilities. It should not deny clinically essential or life-saving treatments simply because those treatments occur within the mouth.
- The Medicare statute does not prohibit coverage for non-routine dental or oral procedures that are medically critical to the treatment of illnesses, diseases, injuries, and health conditions.
- The Senate Report that accompanied the original Medicare legislation explained that the “specific exclusion of routine dental care” was intended “to make clear that the services of dental surgeons covered under the bill are restricted to complex surgical procedures.”
- Print a PDF handout on real solutions to preserve Medicare and share it with others
- Make A Donation – Help the Center for Medicare Advocacy continue its vital work.
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