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Working in Washington to Improve Medicare

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In recent months, the Medicare Rights Center has been pursuing urgently needed reforms, seeking to improve the federal coronavirus response and advance the bipartisan Beneficiary Enrollment Notification and Eligibility Simplification (BENES) Act (H.R. 2477/S. 1280).  

As the pandemic continues to put people with Medicare at risk, in July, Medicare Rights again called on Congress to focus on older adults and people with disabilities in future COVID-19 relief bills. Medicare Rights also outlined its priorities for the next legislative package, recommending strategies to ease Medicare access and affordability.  

In a parallel effort, Medicare Rights has been advocating for regulatory and administrative change. Staff recently urged the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) to adopt critical enrollment flexibilities and responded to proposed rulemaking and information requests. Medicare Rights is also engaged in conversations on the future of telehealth, offering insights and feedback.  

In these uncertain times, Medicare Rights’ direct connection to people with Medicare and their families has never been more important. It allows the organization to identify and elevate pressing pandemic-specific solutions without losing sight of its other policy goals—including the BENES Act.  

Long championed by Medicare Rights, the BENES Act would update Medicare Part B enrollment rules for the first time in over 50 years, modernizing the enrollment process and empowering beneficiaries. Experts agree that this commonsense bill would greatly improve the health and well-being of people with Medicare. It has the support of every former living CMS Administrator—both Republicans and Democrats—and is endorsed by over 100 diverse stakeholder organizations. 

The bill took major strides toward enactment in mid-July, when it was unanimously advanced by the U.S. House Committee on Energy and Commerce. Next steps include consideration by the full House and the Senate.  

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