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For Immediate Release
November 12, 2008
Coalition launched to end Medicare waiting period
Washington, DC - More than 75 health advocacy organizations announced a new campaign to support legislation that would end a two-year Medicare waiting period for people with disabilities today.
Rep. Gene Green (D-Houston) hosted representatives of the Medicare Rights Center in the U.S. Capitol Building for the launch of the Coalition to End the Two-Year Wait for Medicare.
“Individuals who are stuck in the 24 month waiting period are already qualified as disabled and it is unbelievable that this vulnerable population is forced to go without health insurance for two years because the cannot afford to pay for COBRA coverage or individual insurance before they qualify for Medicare coverage,” Green said. “I am happy to announce that this new coalition will provide a loud voice for the disabled, and we’ll be doing all we can to make sure Congress can hear it.”
At any one time about 1.5 million people who have a disability that prevents them from working are caught in a two-year waiting period for Medicare. The waiting period comes on top of an initial wait for the Social Security Administration to determine eligibility for disability insurance (SSDI) plus a five-month waiting period to begin receiving SSDI payments.
About a quarter of disabled people waiting for Medicare have no health insurance at all during the two years, and 40 percent have coverage only part of the time. Lack of coverage can result in worsened health and new medical problems that take their toll on both prospective beneficiaries and the taxpayers who must eventually foot the bill.
Green has introduced the Ending the Medicare Waiting Period Act (H.R. 154), which would phase out the two-year waiting period over ten years and, for the interim, create a process by which individuals with life-threatening diseases could be entirely exempt from the wait requirement. Green’s bill and its companion in the Senate (S.2102) will be the principal legislative vehicles for the Coalition’s agenda.
Members of the Coalition to End the Two-Year Wait for Medicare:
Alpha-1 Foundation
Alpha-1 Association
Alzheimer’s Association
American Academy of Neurology Professional Association
American Association of People with Disabilities (AAPD)
American Autoimmune Related Diseases Association
American Cancer Society – Cancer Action Network
American Council for the Blind (ACB)
American Foundation for the Blind
American Network of Community Options and Resources (ANCOR)
American Psychological Association
Amputee Coalition of America
Amyloidosis Support Groups
Arthritis Foundation
Association for Frontotemporal Dementias
Association of Programs for Rural Independent Living (APRIL)
Autism Society of America
Bazelon Center for Mental Health Law
Benign Essential Blepharospasm Research Foundation (BEBRF)
Brain Injury Association of America
Breast Cancer Network of Strength
Center for Medicare Advocacy
CFC International
Children's Tumor Foundation
Coalition for Pulmonary Fibrosis
Community Health Charities of America
COPD Foundation
Cystic Fibrosis Foundation
Disability Policy Collaboration
Dystonia Medical Research Foundation
Easter Seals
Ehlers Danlos National Foundation
Epilepsy Foundation
Families USA
HIV Medicine Association
Incontinentia Pigmenti International Foundation
Independence Care System
International Pemphigus and Pemphigold Foundation
Kennedy's Disease Association
Leukemia & Lymphoma Society
Lupus Foundation of America
Mental Health America
Medicare Rights Center
Myasthenia Gravis Foundation of America (MGFA)
National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys (NAELA)
National Alliance of State and Territorial AIDS Directors (NASTAD)
National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI)
National Association of People with AIDS
National Council for Community Behavioral Healthcare
National Council on Independent Living (NCIL)
National Disability Rights Network
National Health Council
National Kidney Foundation
National Marfan Foundation
National Multiple Sclerosis Society
National Organization for Rare Disorders (NORD)
North American Brain Tumor Coalition (NABTC)
National Patient Advocate Foundation (NPAF)
NTM Info & Research
Paralyzed Veterans of America
Shwachman Diamond Syndrome Foundation
Spina Bifida Association
The AIDS Institute
The Arc of the United States
United Cerebral Palsy
United Spinal Association
Village Care of New York



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