Medicare Rights Center Weighs in on Budget Changes

Medicare Rights Center
On March 23rd, Congress will finalize spending changes in the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018. The Medicare Rights Center has published its approval or disapproval of the individual items. The Center is a non-profit organization whose goal is to ensure access to affordable healthcare for older Americans. It does this through advocacy, educational programs, and public policy initiatives. The Budget items that affect Medicare beneficiaries are a mixed bag. Some provide or ensure the continuation of benefits critical to a certain segment of the Medicare population. Some would affect all members with the increase in Medicare premiums. The Medicare Rights Center keeps on top of all the legislation occurring in Washington and is vocal about the changes that it supports, does not support, or is keeping a close eye on.

Starting with the negative – proposed changes that the Center does not approve:

  • Increase in cost of premiums for Medicare Part B and Part D
  • Disregard of several reforms that the Center supports, including the Beneficiary Enrollment and Eligibility Simplification

The changes that the Center supports:

  • Increased funding of outreach and enrollment for low-income people eligible for Medicare
  • Repeal of Medicare physical, occupational, and speech therapy caps
  • Coverage of speech-generating devices
  • Extension of the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) that provides health and economic security for working families, including those with Medicare
  • Funding for community healthcare centers that provide primary care

The Center is also closely monitoring the following:

  • Changes to Home Health Benefit relative to payment structure and eligibility
All of these changes that are part of the Budget Act are important to Medicare beneficiaries. We will report the actions of Congress in the passage of the Act in upcoming blogs. Stay tuned.

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