Celebrating 35 years of making Medicare more accessible, affordable, and equitable!

Fifty Ways to Strengthen Medicare

The Health Subcommittee of the U.S. House Committee on Ways & Means held a hearing this week to discuss legislative opportunities to improve and sustain the Medicare program. Joe Baker, president of the Medicare Rights Center, submitted a letter for the hearing record highlighting 50 ways to strengthen Medicare for today’s beneficiaries and for future generations.

For more than 50 years, Medicare has provided guaranteed health benefits to millions of older adults and people with disabilities. Today, 55 million Americans and their families rely on Medicare for basic health and economic security—making Medicare an undeniable success story.

In 2015, Medicare Rights commemorated the 50th anniversary of this landmark program by identifying 50 wishes for Medicare’s future. In his letter, Mr. Baker wrote, “It is critically important for lawmakers to advance global changes to modernize benefits in both Original Medicare and private Medicare health plans and to press forward on seemingly small fixes to improve how beneficiaries navigate their coverage day-to-day.”

Among the 50 wishes, Medicare Rights’ top recommendations include:

  • Add comprehensive dental, vision, and hearing benefits to Original Medicare;
  • Modernize Part B enrollment through enhanced notice, enrollment periods, and relief processes;
  • Make Medicare more affordable by expanding access to Medicare Savings Programs;
  • Streamline and update Medicare Advantage and Part D appeals processes;
  • Increase funding for counseling via State Health Insurance Assistance Programs (SHIPs); and
  • Rein in rising prescription drug costs through tools like Medicare rebates and price negotiations.

“We encourage the Health Subcommittee to pursue these and other advancements to improve the Medicare program,”  Mr. Baker concluded.

Medicare Rights’ 50 wishes for Medicare’s future are available at:

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