Get Asclepios free by e-mail every week! Click here to subscribe.
Committed Citizens Can Change the World
September 03, 2009 • Volume 9, Issue 35
"Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it's the only thing that ever has." —Margaret Mead
As summer wraps up, and town halls come to an end, we need your help. The Medicare Rights Center’s Consumer Action Board (CAB) is composed of community leaders throughout the United States who understand firsthand what it means to have Medicare, and therefore understand how health care reform can benefit people with Medicare.
With the misinformation and misrepresentations that have been spread during this summer, we need to continue to speak out in support of the positive changes being discussed as a part of health care reform. For people with Medicare, the “America’s Affordable Health Choices Act of 2009” (HR 3200), offers various cost-saving provisions and expands their access to a number of benefits. We need to continue to show Congress that we support the closing of the doughnut hole; measures to reduce out-of-pocket expenses such as fully covering preventive treatments; and increasing payments to primary care doctors, which will improve access to doctors who can help people with Medicare manage chronic conditions such as diabetes or high blood pressure. Members of the CAB are encouraged to speak with their legislators as well as reach out to organizations that can become our allies in building a social movement around this legislation.
The CAB is a group of people who are committed to the principle that all Americans should have access to affordable, high-quality health care. The Medicare Rights Center seeks to broaden the reach of our CAB, in order to communicate our policy positions to local communities, the media, policymakers and elected officials. We are looking for people to strengthen the voice of the consumer in the health care reform debate.
The CAB has also focused on bringing coverage to people who must wait two years before receiving Medicare because of a disability. Approximately 1.5 million Americans under the age of 65 who have a disabling illness or injury and who also qualify for Social Security Disability are struggling with the high costs of health coverage. Some 400,000 of these individuals currently have no insurance at all. Health care reform will create an individual insurance market called the “exchange,” where people will no longer be denied insurance because of a pre-existing condition. HR 3200 ends the lifetime limit on benefits, so people with disabilities will be able to continue receiving the care they need without fear of bankruptcy.
The Medicare Rights Center is working closely with policymakers and experts to continue efforts in finding a viable option for the people in the waiting period.
Throughout the fall, the CAB will reach out to state and federal allies, including legislators. Too many are unaware that this cruel and arbitrary waiting period exists. It is the job of grassroots organizing to create movement to bring about this imperative change.
The Medicare Rights Center is looking to strengthen the voice of the CAB and expand to all fifty states. If you are a person with Medicare and are interested in applying for a position on our Consumer Action Board, please e-mail us.
“We urge that coverage through the exchange guarantee access to the full range of medical services required by people with disabilities, such as prosthetics or durable medical equipment covered by Medicare. Without legislative language requiring coverage, and prohibiting arbitrary caps on specific benefits, an actuarial standard for coverage could still allow benefit caps or restrictions on services vital to people with disabilities.” (Letter to House Tri-Committee Chairmen of Health Care Reform, Medicare Rights Center, July 2009).
“The economic downturn has increased the urgency for fixing the Medicare safety net programs for vulnerable seniors and people with disabilities. This population, typically with incomes below only $20,000, has been hit particularly hard, and tends to be sicker, more isolated and has limited educations. They are high users of medical and other health-related services, and they benefit significantly from financial assistance with growing out-of-pocket costs that, without assistance create barriers to care and in the long run higher costs to taxpayers for preventable complications and institutionalizations.” (Letter to the House leadership about Low-Income Subsidy and Medicare Savings Programs, Medicare Rights Center, May 2009).
* * * *
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.
* * * *
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.
* * * *
The Louder Our Voice, the Stronger Our Message
* * * *
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.
* * * *
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.
Visit our online subscription form to sign up for Asclepios at http://www.medicarerights.org/about-mrc/newsletter-signup.php.
Get answers to your Medicare questions from Medicare Interactive at http://www.medicareinteractive.org.