Press Release             

Contact: Paul Precht
Director for Policy and Communications

July 9, 2008

Statement by Robert M. Hayes, President of the Medicare Rights Center, on the Senate's Passage of the Medicare Bill

New York, NY — The Senate, Democrats and Republicans, should be congratulated for joining the House in an overwhelming, bipartisan vote for the Medicare Improvements for Patients and Providers Act. Senator Kennedy adds a new profile in courage to his legacy that has inspired generations of Americans.

This legislation enacts long-overdue improvements to the Medicare program. It will protect access to doctors for the 44 million Americans who receive health insurance through Medicare. It treats fairly the over 90 percent of U.S. physicians who see Medicare patients.

More, it eliminates bureaucratic obstacles that prevent millions of low-income people with Medicare from receiving assistance with their medical and prescription drug costs. It promises an end to coverage rules that discriminate against people with mental illness and improves Medicare's coverage of preventive services and prescription drugs. President Bush must recognize that this vote reflects the will of the American people and sign this bill into law.

Medicare Rights Center (MRC) is the largest independent source of health care information and assistance in the United States for people with Medicare. Founded in 1989, MRC helps older adults and people with disabilities get good, affordable health care.