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Stacy Sanders

5 Things You Can Do to Protect Our Care

What lies ahead for Medicare, Medicaid, and the Affordable Care Act (ACA) is uncertain. But one thing is clear—Congress is setting the stage to make fundamental changes to how people receive their care. Our offices in Washington D.C. and New York City are hearing from people all over the country who are apprehensive about what’s to come. Some are concerned their family members won’t have any health insurance if the ACA is repealed. Others are wondering if they will have to pay even more for their Medicare. And some are sick with worry that the already too-high price of their prescription drugs will go up even more.

No matter the worry, we keep hearing the same question: What can I do? Here are five things you can do to protect our care.

Medicare Rights Joins the National Coalition on Health Care

The Medicare Rights Center is proud to announce its recent membership on the National Coalition for Health Care (NCHC). NCHC is a national, nonprofit organization with a coalition membership of over 80 organizations representing medical societies, businesses, health care providers, insurers, patient and consumer advocates, and more. Collectively, the coalition represents more than 100 million Americans.

Breaking Down Plans to Privatize Medicare

You may be reading news reports about how some members of Congress want to privatize Medicare. By no means is this new news, but this week’s election results brought about renewed interest in these plans. In years past, proposals to privatize Medicare—commonly known as premium support—relied on vouchers that people with Medicare would receive from the federal government to purchase private health plans. Past proposals had important differences: some introduce vouchers for future beneficiaries, some preserve Traditional Medicare as an option, some include defined benefits and consumer protections, etc.

Partnership, Equity, and Transparency: Key Themes for Primary Care Payment

This week, Medicare Rights joined health care leaders from across the country for the annual summit of the Health Care Payment Learning & Action Network (LAN). As a committed partner of the LAN, Medicare Rights is one of over 130 national and state organizations working to change how health care is paid for—moving away from paying on the basis of volume (meaning paying a fee for each discrete service) to paying for value (meaning paying for better quality care at a lower cost). Medicare Rights was proud to be an invited member of the LAN’s Primary Care Payment Model (PCPM) Work Group. As part of the Work Group, we added the consumer and patient perspective to a draft white paper on optimal ways to pay for and deliver primary care services.

Former Medicare Administrators Endorse the BENES Act

Eight past Administrators of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services/Health Care Financing Administration—the agency that oversees and runs Medicare—wrote Congressional leaders this week expressing support for the Beneficiary Enrollment Notification and Eligibility Simplification (BENES) Act (H.R. 5772 and S. 3236). Developed by the Medicare Rights Center, the BENES Act modernizes and simplifies the Part B enrollment process.

New Report Spotlights Medicare Lessons for Stabilizing Affordable Care Act Marketplaces

A report released this week by the Georgetown University Center on Health Insurance Reforms (CHIR) reviews strategies to stabilize the Affordable Care Act health insurance Marketplaces, drawing on lessons learned from Medicare. Through the Marketplaces, millions of Americans—who would otherwise lack coverage altogether—now have health insurance made available through private plans subsidized by the federal government. While some insurers are succeeding in the Marketplace and expanding their reach, others are experiencing losses, leading to withdrawals from the market and premiums hikes. This instability is causing some to question the long-term sustainability of the Marketplaces.

Medicare Rights Center Speaks at Public Forum on Part B Medications

Earlier this week, the Medicare Rights Center participated in a panel discussion at a public forum convened by the Pew Charitable Trusts on a proposal by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) to test new ways to pay for Medicare Part B prescription drugs. Other panelists included experts on prescription drugs, pharmaceutical makers, and clinical oncologists. The discussion focused on the panelists’ views of the potential merits and downsides of the CMS proposal.

Affordable Care Act After Six Years: Medicare is Stronger and 20 Million More Are Insured

Six years ago, the Affordable Care Act (ACA) was signed into law. Through new health insurance Marketplaces and the expansion of Medicaid, 20 million uninsured Americans have gained health coverage since 2010. Alongside these historic reductions in the number of uninsured, the ACA also made many important improvements to Medicare. On this sixth anniversary of the ACA, we reflect on three key ways the ACA strengthened Medicare.