NEWS

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

March 26, 2015

Medicare Rights Center Urges the Senate to Secure a Better SGR Deal for Medicare Beneficiaries
–Statement by Joe Baker, President of the Medicare Rights Center–

New York, NY—Today’s vote in the House of Representatives represents a historic step forward. Congress is one step closer to undoing the flawed Sustainable Growth Rate (SGR) formula once and for all, a measure that health care providers and Medicare beneficiaries can both readily applaud. But, this step in the right direction comes at a steep cost, asking too much from Medicare beneficiaries in return for too little.

The Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act of 2015 (H.R. 2) gives pay raises to doctors, while shifting $30 billion in higher costs to some beneficiaries and granting a small measure of security to low-income seniors and people with disabilities. This security afforded to low-income beneficiaries through a permanent Qualified Individual (QI) program should be celebrated, but Congress can and should do better.

Permanent SGR reform presents an ideal opportunity to facilitate greater access to federal assistance designed to help vulnerable Medicare beneficiaries afford premiums and cost sharing. To improve on H.R. 2, the Senate should increase the QI program income threshold (up to 150% FPL) and asset test, and provide permanent outreach and enrollment funding to the community-based organizations that serve low-income Medicare beneficiaries.

Contact: Mitchell Clark, Senior Communications Associate, mclark@medicarerights.org, 212-204-6286

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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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