Eastern Connecticut's seniors face a number of challenges today, from rising costs for health care and day-to-day costs of living, to threats to their retirement security and piece of mind. I am fighting every day in Congress to support our seniors and retirees by supporting efforts to strengthen programs like Social Security and Medicare, reduce their costs, strengthen and protect their benefits, and ensure they have the support they need.
Congressman Courtney's Work on Key Seniors and Retirement Security Issues:
Medicare Beneficiary Access to Health Care Providers. Access to health care providers is fundamental to the Medicare program and since being elected to Congress, I have advocated for a permanent fix to the broken Medicare reimbursement system, which was created in 1996.
In November 2009, I voted for the Medicare Physician Payment Reform Act (H.R. 3961), which would have repealed the broken physician reimbursement system and replaced it with a functional one. While the legislation passed the House, the Senate unfortunately failed to vote on this legislation. Over the past year, temporary legislative fixes have delayed the cuts, but the problem of the SGR has only grown larger. This is unacceptable for physicians that deserve fair reimbursements as well as the millions of Medicare beneficiaries that rely on them for care and I will continue to push my colleagues in Congress to reach a permanent solution.
Eliminating Waste, Fraud, and Abuse in Medicare. Scam artists that steal from the Medicare program or beneficiaries should be put out of business and prosecuted. The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) recently passed into law will strengthen efforts to fight fraud and abuse and improve screening to catch and punish fraudulent providers and suppliers in the Medicare program. The new law will also allow the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) to conduct background checks, site visits, and other oversights to weed out fraudulent providers. In fact, new rules issued by the Department of Health and Human Services in September will help reduce an estimated $55 billion in improper payments in the Medicare and Medicaid programs over the next decade.
These new efforts to prevent and better prosecute waste, fraud and abuse in the Medicare program will, in part, help extend solvency of the Medicare program. In fact, independent analysis of the law by CMS concluded that modifications to the Medicare program will extend the life of the program by 12 years.
Protecting and Strengthening Retiree Savings and Benefits. After decades of hard work supporting their families, our seniors and retirees deserve piece of mind both that they will have access to the care and services they need, and that their savings will be protected. I have worked to protect the Social Security and Medicare benefits that our seniors have earned for their lifetime of hard work, as well as reducing the cost of prescription drugs by closing the Medicare Part D "donut hole." And, when the downturn in the economy depleted retirement accounts, I helped pass legislation to ensure that seniors would not have to make required minimum deductions from their retirement accounts.
Lowering the Costs of Long-Term Care. Long-term care insurance is a crucial part of financial retirement planning. However, the costs of long-term insurance premiums have proven restrictive for millions of Americans and their families. I have authored bipartisan legislation, the Long-Term Care and Retirement Security Act, to make long-term insurance premiums more affordable and improve financial retirement planning options.
Helping you navigate the bureaucracy. Are you a senior or retiree trying to access your benefits or frustrated with dealing with a federal agency? Have questions about how legislation under consideration in Congress will impact you? Please contact my Norwich District Office at (860) 886-0139 to let me know about the problem you are facing and how I might be able to help.