FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Akiko Takano
Deputy Director of Communications
December 9, 2010
Statement by Medicare Rights Center President Joe Baker on the Passage of the Medicare and Medicaid Extenders Act of 2010
New York, NY—In passing the Medicare and Medicaid Extenders Act of 2010, Congress did right by people with Medicare. This bill prevents important Medicare programs from expiring at the beginning of 2011. Most importantly, it averts deep cuts to Medicare physician payments, and will keep them at the current rate until 2012. The prevention of these cuts in physician payments, which are the result of the Sustainable Growth Rate (SGR) formula enacted in 1997, will allow Medicare consumers to have continued access to doctors and providers for the care they require. We also hope that Congress uses the next year to work with the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) to create a long-term fix that preserves Medicare patientsí access to care and relationships with their physicians.
The legislation also extends other essential Medicare programs. Among them is the Qualified Individual (QI) program, which was slated to expire on December 31, but will now continue through 2011. QI pays the Part B premium for Medicare consumers with limited incomes, and Medicare Rights has fought hard to preserve this important program, calling on policymakers to ensure that people would not face an interruption in benefits at the end of the year. At a time when the financial security of an increasing number of Medicare consumers is uncertain, programs like QI have become essential for our older Americans and Americans with disabilities.
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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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