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Proposed Medicare Reform Could Strip All Citizens of
Their Health Freedom and Medical Privacy

It's a Critical Time to Voice Your Own Opinion!

June 12, 2003

(Washington, D.C.)—With Congress moving quickly to pass a Medicare reform bill, it is a critical time for citizens to voice their own opinions regarding how the program should be changed. "Many people aren't aware of how proposed changes could strip all citizens of their health freedom and privacy," says Sue Blevins, president of the Institute for Health Freedom.

"Combining the compulsory Medicare Part A program (hospital coverage) with the voluntary Medicare Part B portion (doctor coverage) could force all seniors to join a government health care program—even if they have the ability to pay privately for health care. This massive change could eliminate private health care for all seniors in this country," stressed Blevins.

"Unless seniors are free to pay privately for their own health care—even services that Medicare covers—they won't have true freedom of choice and privacy. The bottom line is that he who pays the piper calls the tunes. And if government is paying the bills, it will call the tunes, thus having the final say on important health coverage decisions for seniors," Blevins said.

Following is a summary of key issues for citizens to become informed about regarding proposed Medicare reforms:

  • When American workers retire and apply for their Social Security benefits, the federal government says seniors must in enroll in Medicare Part A or forfeit the retirement benefits they've been paying taxes for their entire working lives. Once they're enrolled, seniors become subjected to the more than 100,000 pages of Medicare regulations on coverage, reimbursement, and patient privacy—or lack thereof.

  • Most recently, a woman from Massachusetts has been trying to get her Social Security benefits, but she can't recoup her earnings because she is not willing to sign up for Medicare Part A due to privacy concerns. She's paid taxes to support the program, but she simply doesn't want to join it. (See the attached letter to Rep. Ron Paul. She sent a similar letter to Sen. Ted Kennedy and Majority Leader Bill Frist asking for their help.)

  • It's worth noting that even the United Kingdom and the Netherlands don't force seniors into government health care programs upon retirement—they can keep their private insurance.

"American seniors should not have to forfeit their Social Security benefits for declining to enroll in Medicare," said Blevins. "Any Medicare reform should state clearly that (1) enrollment in all parts of Medicare is voluntary, and (2) seniors are free to choose and pay privately for all of the health care services of their choice."

Source: Institute for Health Freedom news release.