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Medicare Rights Urges Congress to Support the CHIP Program without Penalizing People with Medicare

Today, the Medicare Rights Center sent a letter to leaders of the U.S. House Committee on Energy and Commerce voicing opposition to legislation that would shifts costs to people with Medicare. Importantly, the “Helping Ensure Access for Little Ones, Toddlers, and Hopeful Youth by Keeping Insurance Delivery Stable Act of 2017” (HEALTHY KIDS Act), would provide needed funding for the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP). Unfortunately, however, the bill pays for this funding, in part, by requiring some higher-income people with Medicare to pay more than they already do for Medicare coverage.

CHIP is essential because it provides affordable health coverage to working families for over eight million low-income children. The program’s funding expired at the end of September, despite strong bipartisan support over the years.

Medicare Rights strongly supports CHIP because it has improved access to children’s health coverage and high-quality health care. But we cannot support requiring some higher-income Medicare beneficiaries to pay 100% of the Medicare Part B premium as well as an increased surcharge for Medicare Part D. Higher-income Medicare beneficiaries already pay higher premiums, and, for some, their premiums are set to increase in 2018. We are also concerned about the precedent it sets to require people with Medicare to pay more to finance short-term, non-Medicare expenditures.

For these reasons, we urge Congress to work to identify alternative ways to pay for the CHIP program that do not penalize people with Medicare.

Read the letter.

This article made possible by generous support from the Retirement Research Foundation.

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