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140,000 Will Lose Medicare Benefit Unless Congress Acts

  • September 3rd, 2003

More than 140,000 low-income Americans will lose their Medicare benefits unless Congress acts quickly to reauthorize a crucial program.

The program, the Qualifying Individual-1 Program (QI-1), pays the monthly Part B Medicare premium, currently $58.70, for individuals with annual incomes between $11,028 and $12,372, and for couples with incomes between $14,796 and $16,608.

The program is set to expire on September 30, 2003. Although the Bush Administration and the leadership of both parties say they support the program, Congress has not acted.

"If Congress fails to renew the program, over 140,000 older and disabled Americans will be choosing between medicine and food come October," said Robert M. Hayes, president of the Medicare Rights Center, which has sent a letter to Congress urging reauthorization.

"States are already taking the administrative steps to shut down the program and Congress appears asleep at the wheel," Hayes said. "We need the Congress to act."

The Senate version of the Medicare prescription drug bill includes QI-1''s renewal, but conference committee deliberations on the Medicare bills are now expected to continue after September 30.

A copy of the Medicare Rights Center''s letter to Congress is available at: www.medicarerights.org/qi1_letter.html

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Last Modified: 09/03/2003

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