Friday, April 19, 2024
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58th Anniversary of Medicare and Medicaid

58th Anniversary of Medicare and Medicaid

On July 30, 1965, legislation that established Medicare and Medicaid was signed into law by President Lyndon B. Johnson. These programs have protected and saved the lives of seniors and people with disabilities for nearly six decades. This year, labor unions across the nation have organized events in celebration of Medicare’s 58th anniversary to shine light on the existential threat to Medicare posed by Medicare Advantage (MA) plans.

Despite prior authorizations, delays, and high, unjustified denial rates, Medicare Advantage plans are growing in popularity due to their low premiums. MA insurers profit from enrollments and even more so from enrollees with extensive health concerns, who often are not given the medical treatment they need. A conservative analysis estimated that in 2023 MA insurers overbilled the Federal Government by between $12 to $25 billion, but USC Schaeffer Center researchers warn that these overpayments now exceed $75 billion annually.

The 2022 Convention of RPEC passed a resolution that supports the “Social Security 2100: A Sacred Trust” Act and asks that all of our congressional delegations support this vital piece of legislation. Additionally, a resolution was approved unanimously at the Washington State Labor Council convention in July that opposes Medicare privatization and urges federal legislators and the Biden Administration to “Level the Playing Field” to increase healthcare equity and support an affordable Traditional Medicare system with improved benefits and accessibility for seniors and disabled beneficiaries.

This issue remains a top-tier legislative priority of RPEC. In the coming months, members may be called upon to wield their strength and determination and urge federal legislators to support seniors and those with disabilities by protecting and expanding Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid, and to prevent it from being privatized.

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