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Just the Facts
August 6, 2009 • Volume 9, Issue 31
For the month of August, the health care reform debate leaves the halls of Congress and enters neighborhoods across America as senators and representatives return home to engage their constituents at town hall meetings.
Lawmakers, however, have been met with unexpected ambushes instead of debate. In what appears to be a well-coordinated, nationwide effort, these town hall meetings have been interrupted by shouting matches and boos, which have disrupted any attempt at healthy debate.
Some people are also using scare tactics to further divert attention from a serious conversation about health care reform. Some organizations are targeting people with Medicare, and claiming health care reform will be paid for by rationing or denying care to people with Medicare or slashing their benefits. None of these charges are true.
In fact, legislation passed by three committees in the House of Representatives makes substantial improvements to Medicare, expanding coverage and shoring up the program’s finances. The bill improves the Medicare drug benefit by phasing out the doughnut hole so that people with Medicare will no longer have to split pills or skip doses; it also provides immediate relief by requiring brand-name drug makers to provide a 50 percent discount during the coverage gap.
It’s time to take back the health care debate with facts, not fights. It’s time to remind ourselves that health care reform is about bringing affordable health care to millions of people, and not about taunts and jeers.
Contact your Congressmen and Senators and tell them you support the improvements to the Medicare drug benefit, and that you don’t believe the smears.
“HR 3200 will eliminate the coverage gap or “doughnut hole” in prescription drug coverage by phasing it out over 14 years. This will reduce the number of older adults and people with disabilities who skip doses or split pills when they must pay the full price of drugs during the doughnut hole. The bill provides immediate assistance by requiring brand-name drug makers to provide a 50 percent discount during the coverage gap.” (Get the Facts: Health Reform and Medicare, Medicare Rights Center, August 2009).
“Myth: Health care reform will hurt Medicare.
Fact: None of the health care reform proposals being considered by Congress would cut Medicare benefits or increase your out-of-pocket costs for Medicare services.
Fact: Health care reform will lower prescription drug costs for people in the Medicare Part D coverage gap or "doughnut hole" so they can better afford the drugs they need.
Fact: Health care reform will protect seniors' access to their doctors and reduce the cost of preventive services so patients stay healthier.
Fact: Health care reform will reduce costly, preventable hospital readmissions, saving patients and Medicare money.
Fact: Rather than weaken Medicare, health care reform will strengthen the financial status of the Medicare program.”
(Don’t Let the Myths about Health Reform Scare You, AARP, August 2009)
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Medicare Part D Appeals Help for Advocates Is Here!
Medicare Rights Center’s new Medicare Part D Appeals: An advocate’s manual to navigating the Medicare private drug plan appeals process offers an easy-to-understand, comprehensive overview of the entire appeals process, including real-life case examples, a glossary of important appeals terms, a sample protocol for advocates, and links to important resources.
Register for a FREE copy of this great resource.
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Medicare Part D Monitoring Project
would like to hear about your experience, or that of someone you know, enrolled in a private drug plan. With information about what the issues are with Medicare Part D, we will be able to demand that those problems be fixed. Medicare Rights Center
Submit your story at http://www.medicarerights.org/issues-actions/tell-your-story.php.
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The Louder Our Voice, the Stronger Our Message
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Asclepios—named for the Greek and Roman god of medicine who, acclaimed for his healing abilities, was at one point the most worshipped god in Greece—is a weekly e-newsletter designed to keep you up-to-date with Medicare program and policy issues, and advance advocacy strategies to address them. Please help build awareness of key Medicare consumer issues by forwarding this action alert to your friends and encouraging them to subscribe today.
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The Medicare Rights Center is a national, nonprofit consumer service organization that works to ensure access to affordable health care for older adults and people with disabilities through counseling and advocacy, educational programs and public policy initiatives.
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