Press Release             

Contact: Nathan Heggem
Senior Communications and
Policy Associate

October 4, 2011

Statement by Medicare Rights Center President Joe Baker on the Proposed Rule for
Medicare Advantage and Prescription Drug Programs

New York, NY–Medicare Rights Center supports continued improvements to consumer protections and quality of care in Medicare Advantage and under the Medicare prescription drug benefit, as outlined in new proposed rules from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS). The rules strengthen CMS’s oversight ability and raise the quality bar by, for example, allowing the agency to terminate plans with consistently poor performance. Inspired by the experiences of the Medicare beneficiaries we counsel, who often find the private Medicare market overwhelming and difficult to navigate, the Medicare Rights Center has been a long-time advocate for policies that create meaningful, understandable choices for people with Medicare. We believe this policy improves the beneficiary experience by emphasizing the importance of the quality—rather than the quantity—of plans available.  

Also of note, the rules aim to eliminate conflicts of interest that create waste and harmful incentives to inappropriately prescribe prescription drugs in long-term care facilities. This will help protect patients whose safety is at risk as a result of improperly prescribed powerful drugs, such as anti-psychotics. Medicare Rights Center will continue to examine the rules, offer comments and work with CMS to help ensure people with Medicare continue to have access to the coverage and services they need. 

REMINDER: Fall Open Enrollment begins on October 15, and we remind Medicare beneficiaries to explore their health and drug coverage options during this time. To learn more about what is new in 2012, please see Fall Open Enrollment Period: A Resource for Journalists.

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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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