All blogs filed under Seniors

PA Voter ID Law Decision

The Commonwealth Court’s decision to strike down voter ID for the 2013 elections is a victory for equal access to the ballot in Pennsylvania. I hope that this decision is a precursor to permanently striking down this misguided and ill-conceived law. From the beginning, this law has been designed to prevent Pennsylvanians from exercising their right to vote and has impacted residents young and old from urban and rural counties. Whenever Pennsylvania’s so-called ‘Voter ID’ law has been held to a test of basic fairness it’s failed. It’s time for the state to stop defending this politically motivated legislation. Those pursing this law need to ask themselves hard questions about whether it’s the role of government to put roadblocks in front of seniors, veterans and ultimately all Pennsylvanians who want their voices heard at the ballot box.

Civil Rights
Voter ID

Happy 48th Birthday to Medicare and Medicaid

In the 48 years since President Johnson signed Medicare and Medicaid into law, these programs have become essential in helping millions of older Americans, people with disabilities and children across Pennsylvania meet their health care needs. While some in Congress continue to advocate ending these programs, I believe we need to reconfirm our commitment to them.

Since its creation, we have continued to make improvements to Medicare, including closing the so-called “donut hole” for prescription drug coverage under Medicare Part D. When Medicare was introduced in 1965, prescription medications were not as vital to older citizens’ healthcare as they are today. When created, Medicare Part D gave recipients greater access to common prescription drugs, but left a large gap where beneficiaries would be responsible for all the costs of their drugs, the “donut hole.”

The Affordable Care Act (ACA) awarded Medicare recipients a one-time $250 check to offset out of pocket costs in 2010, and began expanding coverage for brand-name and generic medications in 2011. As of 2013, Pennsylvanians have saved $463,997,310 on prescription drugs in the “donut hole.” Under the ACA, we are on track to close the “donut hole” by 2020.

Medicaid was created with the promise to ensure that the most vulnerable members of society, who are often overlooked or neglected, have access to health care. Medicaid provides families throughout Pennsylvania and the country the long term care coverage they or their families need.  Medicaid also provides important services for children. Through the Early and Periodic Screening, Diagnostic, and Treatment (EPSDT) benefit, children are able to receive vital preventive and screening services.  These benefits are essential to helping children remain healthy as they grow.  We must keep Medicaid strong so that individuals and families have access to the care they need.

It is imperative that we continue to improve, strengthen and protect both Medicare and Medicaid. As we celebrate this anniversary, I commit to continuing the fight to keep these programs strong and ensure that beneficiaries have access to the services they need.

45 Years of Medicare

Today marks the 45th anniversary of the creation of Medicare. President Lyndon B. Johnson signed Medicare into law on July 30, 1965 in order to ensure that American older citizens would have access to the quality, affordable health care they need. Medicare has grown into one of the most successful health programs ever created, currently insuring over 44 million Americans, and helping to reduce poverty among older citizens by two thirds since its inception. Medicare has become a cornerstone of the American healthcare system and has greatly enhanced the security of America’s older citizens. 

As we celebrate this great program’s 45th anniversary, we need to look at what the Affordable Care Act has done to improve Medicare.  This new law strengthens Medicare through improved treatment and outcomes for older citizens.  Effective immediately the new law will help reduce the costs of prescription drugs by giving beneficiaries who fall into the Part D “donut hole” a $250 rebate check, and will provide a 50% discount on certain prescriptions if beneficiaries reach the coverage gap. In 2011, beneficiaries will also be able to receive free preventative care screenings as well as a yearly physical.  These and other important changes will help older citizens stay healthy and receive high quality medical care. 

On the 45th anniversary of this great program which has helped to safeguard America’s older citizens, we applaud these improvements as they will help our older citizens get affordable and quality care. Today a new commercial celebrating Medicare’s 45th anniversary narrated by Andy Griffith was released.  Take a moment to watch this commercial and see how the changes we made will help you.

Visit Medicare.Gov for more.

Health Care
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