Press Release             

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Mitchell Clark
Senior Communications Associate
212-204-6286

Decmeber 18, 2012  

Medicare Rights Urges Congress and the White House to Protect Americans With Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security

New York, NY— Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security benefits remain vulnerable to cuts as Congress and the White House move closer to a deal to bring down the national deficit. Recent news reports suggest potential spending cuts in Medicare and Medicaid on the order of $400 billion and renewed interest in changing the way the annual cost of living is calculated for Social Security benefits. Taken separately or in combination, neither proposal is a good deal for people with Medicare.

“Recently proposed cuts to Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security are alarming,” said Joe Baker, President of the Medicare Rights Center. “Shifting costs to people with Medicare forces many people to pay more out of their Social Security checks for their health care or forgo needed services if they cannot afford them. At the same time, slowing the rate of increase for Social Security benefits means Medicare beneficiaries have fewer resources to spend on rising out-of-pocket health care costs. Cost shifting in Medicare coupled with cuts to Social Security benefits would squeeze seniors and people with disabilities from both sides.”

Rather than forcing Medicare families to pay more for less health security or cutting already meager Social Security checks, policymakers should look to reasonable solutions to address systemic issues—like the rising cost of health care overall. Allowing the Affordable Care Act to fulfill the promise of delivery system reform, authorizing the federal government to negotiate Medicare drug prices with pharmaceutical companies, and expanding the already successful competitive bidding program for durable medical equipment, are just a few solutions that would improve not just the Medicare program, but the health care system on the whole.

“For people who need Medicare, there is much at stake in these negotiations. This is not just dialogue about the nation’s debt, the health and financial well-being— indeed, the very lives—of seniors and people with disabilities hang in the balance. Now is not the time to threaten the already fragile health and economic  security afforded by Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security. Now is a moment for leadership to once and for all improve our health care system—and our Medicare—for the better.” said Baker.

Read Medicare Rights’ letters, urging the President and the House and Senate leadership to protect Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security.

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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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