Health Reform and Medicare

People with Medicare have a stake in health reform. Take Action Now!

Our experts are often featured in news stories about health reform. Watch Medicare Rights Center President Joe Baker on the NewsHour with Jim Lehrer:

The goals of health reform legislation that is currently being debated in Congress and around the country are (1) to provide quality health care coverage to as many citizens and legal residents as possible, and (2) to fix our system so that it will better control the ever-rising costs of health care.

Because Medicare is such a large part of the American health care system, much of the debate has focused on Medicare-related issues. Many of these issues are of vital importance to people with Medicare—from how long the Medicare trust fund will last to the coverage gap in Medicare Part D, from ensuring access to doctors to improving the quality of care. Questions and claims of competing interests about whether reform will help or hurt Medicare are in the papers, on the airwaves, and on the web every day. We here at the Medicare Rights Center have been involved every step of the way, and we continue to work with Congress and with other advocates to advance the interests of the people we serve.

If you would like to learn more about health reform and Medicare and our position on these issues, we invite you to read our fact sheets and newsletters, as well as news stories featuring our experts. We also invite you to share your opinion about how you think health reform will affect you.

NewsHour with Jim Lehrer
August 10, 2009

Dr. Nancy
October 5, 2009

Congressional Connector TV
October 27, 2009

Publications on the Issues

Health Reform Bills

Questions and Answers on Medicare and Health Reform
Side-by-Side Comparison of Health Reform Bills' Impact on Medicare

President Obama's plan
Get the Facts: Health Reform and Medicare

House bill
Get the Facts: Health Reform and Medicare
Get the Facts: Health Reform and Medicare (Spanish)

Senate bill
Health Reform Check-Up: Better Preventive Care for People with Medicare
Health Reform Check-Up: Improvements to Drug and Medical Coverage under Medicare Private Plans


January 11, 2010 Letter to Senate Majority Leader Reid and House Speaker Pelosi on Affordability for People with Disabilities in Two-Year Waiting Period
December 24, 2009 Letter to Senate Majority Leader Reid and House Speaker Pelosi
November 17, 2009 Letter in Support of H.R. 3961
November 2, 2009 Letter in Support of H.R. 3962
October 19, 2009 Letter to Senator Stabenow in Support of S.1776
September 23, 2009 Letter to Members of Senate Finance Committee


December 1, 2009 Testimony of Paul Precht before the Senate Special Committee on Aging: "The Senate Health Care Reform Bill -- How Will It Benefit Seniors?"
Testimony of Joe Baker to New York State Senate Committee on Aging

More news stories featuring our experts:

Last-ditch Effort Carries High Stakes for Florida Patients

The Palm Beach Post, February 22, 2010, by Stacey Singer

Few states have as much at stake in the health care fight as Florida, a state where one in five residents lacks any health coverage, where what coverage is available for the poor is breaking the bank, and where a large percentage of people � seniors � have government-provided health care that they're keen to protect. On the day President Obama released his health care proposal, the president of the Florida Hospital Association pleaded for an end to the congressional impasse. Read entire story.

Democrats Vow to Close Medicare 'Doughnut Hole'

Associated Press, December 17, 2009, by Ricardo Alonso-Zaldivar

It's an annual ordeal for many seniors living on a budget. Medicare's coverage gap for prescription drugs -- $3,610 next year -- has steadily gotten bigger since the benefit's inception. But if Democrats have their way on health care overhaul, the dreaded "doughnut hole" will shrink by $500 right away and go away altogether by 2019. Read entire story.

Medicare Groups Rebut McCain Measure

The New York Times Prescriptions Blog, December 2, 2009

Two consumer advocacy groups that focus on Medicare beneficiaries issued a joint statement Wednesday, criticizing the amendment to the Senate health care bill offered by Senator John McCain, Republican of Arizona. Read entire story.

The Disabled and the Doctors

Columbia Journalism Review, November 9, 2009, by Trudy Lieberman

As members of Congress ticked off for the home crowds the general achievements of their narrowly passed bill Saturday, and advocates for the elderly praised the goodies for Medicare beneficiaries, nobody mentioned that one important fix which would have helped some two million people was still missing. That was ending the two-year Medicare waiting period for people with disabilities�a proposal that some pols, including Sen. Max Baucus, seemed to advocate a year ago, when everything seemed possible. Read entire story.

House Poised to Make Health Care History

The Oregonian, November 6, 2009, by The Oregonian Editorial Board

Sometime within the next few days, and perhaps even as soon as Saturday, the U.S. House is destined to make history. Representatives will do it by voting on America's first major health care reform since the creation of Medicare and Medicaid 44 years ago. Read entire story.

Medicare Fee Cuts Will Test Doctors' Patience with Congress

McClatchy Newspapers, October 21, 2009, by David Lightman

Doctors' Medicare fees would be cut 21 percent next year unless some change is approved, and quickly, but Senators sent a strong signal Wednesday that they're reluctant to spend billions on a long-term solution. Read entire story.

Hidden Costs of Medicare Advantage

The Washington Post, October 15, 2009, by Philip Rucker

Patrick Higney, 66, doesn't want to give up the freebies that come with his zero-premium Medicare Advantage plan: free aspirin and free Band-Aids, a free blood pressure machine and a free ear thermometer. [...] The trouble is, the extra benefits are not exactly free; they are subsidized by the government. And some of the plans pass their costs on to seniors, who pay higher co-pays and additional fees to get care. Read entire story.

On Health Care Reform, Listen to Joe Baker

The Oregonian, September 9, 2009, by Doug Bates

If health reform legislation pending in the U.S. House of Representatives becomes law, people with Medicare stand to benefit from improved coverage of prescription drugs and preventive services. Says who? None other than Joe Baker, president of the Medicare Rights Center, the nation's preeminent advocacy group for people on Medicare. Read entire story.