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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

 

For Information Contact:

 

A. J. (Jim) Norby Bill Kadereit Ed Beltram
760-200-9867  214-725-5289 719-687-6157
anorbz@aol.com  bkad@sbcglobal.net edbeltram@msn.com  

 

Retiree Network Leader Calls For U.S. House To Pass

Children’s Health And Medicare Protection Act

 

Healthcare Bill Would Benefit Uninsured Children

And Medicare Participants

 

WASHINGTON (July 25, 2007) – The president of the National Retiree Legislative Network (NRLN) today called for the U.S. House of Representatives to pass an intergenerational healthcare bill that would be beneficial to America’s children and Medicare participants.

            “The House should pass the Children’s Health And Medicare Protection (CHAMP) Act,” said A. J. (Jim) Norby, NRLN president. “The bill, if passed, would not only provide healthcare for uninsured children but would also improve aspects of Medicare for older Americans.”

            Norby said the legislation would reduce the asset test in Medicare Part D and streamline the application process, thereby helping millions of Americans with modest savings, including many of the NRLN’s two million members, gain access to affordable healthcare. He said the NRLN supports the provision in the bill that would give more low-income Medicare beneficiaries extra help with prescription drug costs.

            “Unless Congress comes up with a solution such as the one offered in this bill, physicians will face a 10-percent cut to Medicare payments on Jan. 1, 2008. According to the American Medical Association, more than 60 percent of doctors say they will limit the number of new Medicare patients they will treat if the cut goes through,” Norby said. “With more Americans reaching the age for Medicare eligibility, it would be foolish to curtail their access to medical care.”

            The bill would block impending cuts in Medicare payments to doctors, giving them a modest increase in fees in each of the next two years while Congress tries to devise a new payment policy.
            Norby noted that the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office said the government paid private Medicare plans, on average, 12 percent more than it would have cost to care for the same people in traditional Medicare. Moreover, it said, payments to the fastest-growing type of plan, known as private fee-for-service plans, are 19 percent higher than the cost of traditional Medicare.

 

“The House bill would gradually reduce these payments so that Medicare would pay the same amount, regardless of whether a beneficiary was in a private plan or in traditional Medicare,” Norby said. “In addition, the House bill would prohibit private Medicare plans from charging higher co-payments than traditional Medicare.”

            Another important provision of the bill, according to Norby, is that the Secretary of Health and Human Services would be allowed to expand Medicare coverage of preventive services like certain disease-detection screenings. To encourage use of these benefits, Congress would eliminate most co-payments and other charges.     

            Based in Washington, D.C., the NRLN is dedicated to securing federal legislation that will guarantee the fair and equitable treatment of retirees in the private and public sector.  The NRLN represents a non-partisan, grass roots coalition of retiree associations with a combined membership of some two million men and women who are seeking to protect their pension and healthcare benefits.  For more information, visit the NRLN Web site at http://www.nrln.org.

 

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