U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) today introduced the Retirement Freedom Act, which would empower senior citizens and create more healthcare options by allowing them to utilize private health insurance without losing their Social Security benefits. Rep. Gary Palmer (R-Ala.) introduced companion legislation in the House of Representatives, H.R. 6703.
“For too long, Social Security has been wrongly tied to Medicare Part A enrollment,” Sen. Cruz said. “Seniors all across the country should be empowered with the freedom to choose a health insurance plan that fits their needs, without the fear of losing their Social Security benefits. I am hopeful my colleagues in both the House and the Senate will act swiftly to empower America’s seniors with healthcare freedom, as Congress continues to deliver on our promises.”
“The Retirement Freedom Act gives seniors the opportunity to obtain the health insurance arrangement that best fits their individual needs while helping Medicare’s troubled finances,” Rep. Palmer said. “Our nation’s seniors should not have their Social Security benefits held hostage by the federal government in order to force enrollment in Medicare.”
“Every senior should have the freedom to make their own healthcare choices without the threat of losing their Security benefits,” said Association of Mature American Citizens (AMAC) President Dan Weber. “The Retirement Freedom Act corrects this problem, and gives seniors more options as they plan for and enjoy their retirement.”
“Unfortunately, under current law, if a senior opts out of Medicare Part A, he or she will lose Social Security benefits. This wastes taxpayer dollars by trapping people in a poorly-run government program that they may not want or need,” said FreedomWorks President Adam Brandon. “This is a basic issue of individual liberty. People should not be coerced into sacrificing healthcare freedom. We fully support the Retirement Freedom Act and applaud Senator Cruz for introducing it.”
Read the full text of the bill here.
Unless I’m missing something, this sounds like a win for everyone who draws their pittance from Social Security, a win for the insurance providers, and even a win for Medicare’s pocketbook.
With this in place, people who presently can’t get the specialized help and medical equipment they need because it isn’t covered, would have an opportunity to find a better source. The insurance companies could rework the packages they offer in order to cover older folks’ needs. Instead of the deduction that comes out of the SS payments and the cost of a monthly supplement, seniors could combine both costs into a more effective plan.
The government would save a boatload of money and could eventually cut back on the personnel that taxpayers pay to process insurance transactions. (like that would ever happen, right?)
There’s another upside to this and it’s for the doctors and their staff. One local doctor’s PA said that sometimes they have to process claims over and over because Medicare rejects them for minute technicalities. Sometimes their staff even resubmits the claim without making any changes at all and it gets approved. There’s no rhyme or reason to it, so some doctors have concluded that’s it’s a stall tactic. Either way you look at it, eliminating government red tape and paperwork is a good thing.
This sounds like a good solution, but it’s got a long way to go before it can make it through Congress.