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.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) recently released its draft FY 2018- 2022 Strategic Plan. While one of HHS’ stated objectives is to “Improve American’s access to health care and expand choices of care and service options,” we are instead seeing a systematic effort to impede that access. Recent HHS actions include:
- Shutting down http://www.healthcare.gov for significant periods of time almost every weekend during open enrollment. This is problematic for the many people who only have time on weekends to visit the site, research, and shop for a plan that meets their needs.
- Cutting the ACA enrollment period in half.
- Slashing the outreach budget and funding for community organizations that provide enrollment assistance to people who need health coverage.
- Creating uncertainty by refusing – at least so far – to commit to paying cost sharing reductions for the full year. Many insurers have suggested that this intentional uncertainty is causing a spike in rates, sometimes in the double digits.
- Refusing to allow regional staff to participate in outreach and enrollment events.
We Have a Chance to be Heard.
Stop the Sabotage Now!
The Administration is accepting comments on the HHS Draft Strategic Plan right now. Comments are due by October 27, 2017. Submit your feedback today!
- To view the HHS Draft Strategic Plan FY 2018-2022, click here.
- To submit comments to HHS, click here.
Thank you for helping #ProtectOurCare!
Making permanent the law that provides access to Speech Generating Devices for Medicare beneficiaries
The Bill was introduced in the Senate (S.1132) and House (H.R.2465) in May 2017. In the House, H.R. 2465 was referred to the Energy and Commerce Committee and the Ways and Means Committee. On May 19th, the Bill was referred by the Energy and Commerce Committee to the Subcommittee on Health. In the Senate, the Bill was referred to the Finance Committee on May 16th.
As of July 5th, there are currently 66 Bill co-sponsors in the House https://www.congress.gov/bill/115th-congress/house-bill/2465/cosponsors, and 5 in the Senate https://www.congress.gov/bill/115th-congress/senate-bill/1132/cosponsors.
Please review the co-sponsors of the Bill in the House and the Senate. If your Representative or Senators are not listed, please ask them to become co-sponsors of the Steve Gleason Enduring Voices Act. You can do this by using this link to our recent Action Alert, and by following up with them personally.
- 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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