Statement of Judith Stein, Executive Director, Center for Medicare Advocacy
April 10, 2013 – The President’s Budget is a mixed bag for older and disabled people and their families.
On the one hand, it offers some serious improvements to strengthen Medicare’s financial footing, including proposals that allow Medicare to pay lower prices for prescription drugs without harming beneficiaries, and that help ensure private Medicare Advantage plans are not paid more than traditional Medicare. These commonsense proposals take the right approach to saving taxpayer dollars while protecting older and disabled people and their families.
On the other hand, we are deeply concerned about other proposals in the Budget that cut Medicare and Social Security benefits, pass costs on to vulnerable families, and add to overall health care costs.
For example, the President’s proposal to further means-test Medicare would add to an already fragmented, income-based, complex program that once again moves away from Medicare’s original community intent and understandable design. Another provision would institute a surcharge on Medigap insurance plans that cover costs not paid by Medicare – further shifting costs to beneficiaries. The budget also proposes adding co-payments for home health care, which will pose significant financial barriers for many beneficiaries, particularly those with long-term and chronic conditions, and force many out of the community and into institutional care. These misguided provisions would cause people to go without necessary care and add to overall health care costs.
Finally, the so-called Chained-CPI is an unfair, unnecessary, and unwise cut to Social Security benefits which will harm millions of older and disabled Americans with very limited means.
These cuts to Medicare and Social Security target people who can least afford them and programs that did not cause the deficit. We urge the President and Congress to reject these provisions.
Please contact Lauren Weybrew at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 646-214-0514 if you’d like to speak with a representative of the Center for Medicare Advocacy. Learn more about the Center for Medicare Advocacy, Inc. at http://www.medicareadvocacy.org
Judith Stein is the founder and executive director of the Center for Medicare Advocacy, Inc. and has been focused on legal representation of older and disabled people for more than three decades. She has been lead or co-counsel in a number of federal class action lawsuits and individual cases challenging improper Medicare policies and denials. She was recently appointed to the Congressional Commission on Long Term Care by House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi.
The Center for Medicare Advocacy, Inc., established in 1986, is a national nonprofit, nonpartisan organization that provides education, advocacy and legal assistance to help older people and people with disabilities obtain fair access to Medicare and necessary health care. We focus on the needs of Medicare beneficiaries, people with chronic conditions, and those in need of long-term care. The organization is involved in writing, education, and advocacy activities of importance to Medicare beneficiaries nationwide.