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E-ALERT: Helping Constituents


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One of the most gratifying parts of being a Member of Congress is helping make sure government works for the people you represent. Joseph Goleman of Newark is a recent example of this important work.

This week, I introduced HR 6435, the Medicare Secondary Payer and Late Enrollment Penalty Family Fairness Act -- legislation directly inspired by my efforts to help Joseph obtain Medicare protections he was wrongly denied. Here's Joseph's story:

After becoming enrolled in Medicare due to a disability, Joseph learned he could obtain health insurance through his spouse's employer-provided plan and thereby avoid having to pay the Part B premium. He was also rightly informed that he'd be eligible to rejoin Medicare Part B -- without paying a penalty -- if that spousal coverage changed.

Imagine Joseph's surprise, anger, and fear when he went to rejoin Medicare Part B and was told by a Social Security office in our community that he was ineligible because he was in a same-sex marriage. Instead, he would be subject to a significant late enrollment penalty, which made Medicare Part B coverage entirely unaffordable for him.

Thankfully, Joseph reached out to me. My staff quickly discovered that he was, in fact, guaranteed the protection to rejoin Medicare without penalty. I'm happy to report we were successful in getting him the benefits he was due.

Our work on Joseph's behalf pointed out an anomoly in the law governing eligibility that is likely causing other same-sex couples problems obtaining late enrollment penalty protections.

Because Joseph reached out for help, we discovered this discrepancy and I've introduced legislation to correct it.

My staff and I are here to help you. Please don't hesitate to reach out to my office in Fremont at 510-494-1388 or visiting us online at, if I can help you with a government problem you are experiencing.

Resolving constituents' problems -- like Joseph's -- and trying to prevent others from experiencing similar issues is the heart of my job as your Member of Congress. Please let me know when I can help you too.



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