Press Release             

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Paul Precht
Director of Policy and Communications
202-637-0961

Akiko Takano
Deputy Director of Communications
212-204-6214

December 21, 2009

Statement by Medicare Rights Center President Joe Baker on the Senate Cloture Vote for Health Reform Legislation

New York, NY—Last night’s Senate vote puts Congress on a clear path to passing legislation that will provide new health insurance options to millions of Americans who are now denied coverage because of their age or medical history. This is an historic achievement. The process of reconciling the Senate’s bill and the legislation that has already passed the House of Representatives will determine whether the premiums and copayments under these new coverage choices are affordable to all Americans. The Medicare Rights Center is particularly focused on ensuring that people with disabilities have affordable, comprehensive coverage while they hang on during the two-year wait for Medicare.

It now seems virtually certain that the final health reform bill will deliver hundreds of dollars in savings on prescription drug costs for people with Medicare. The House bill phases out the coverage gap, or “doughnut hole,” in the Medicare drug benefit, and both President Obama and Senate leaders have pledged to close the gap, when coverage stops and consumers must pay the full price for their medicines. Medicare drug coverage will then last the whole year, instead of cutting out when consumers need it most to manage chronic conditions like diabetes and hypertension.

 

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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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