COCHRAN BACKS BILL TO RESTORE HEALTH CARE CHOICE FOR SENIORS

Press Release

Date: July 12, 2011
Location: Washington, DC

U.S. Senator Thad Cochran (R-Miss.) today announced his support for legislation that would allow seniors to decline Medicare Part A without the threat of losing their Social Security retirement benefits.

Cochran has agreed to cosponsor the Retirement Freedom Act (S.1317), which would overturn regulations that now automatically force seniors to forfeit Social Security benefits if they choose to pay for private health care insurance rather than enroll in the voluntary Medicare Part A hospital insurance program.

"I believe this issue is a matter of fairness. The Social Security and Medicare programs are by law both voluntary and independent programs. They shouldn't be linked in a manner that penalizes those who choose to use private health care instead of drawing from Medicare," Cochran said.

The legislation, introduced by Senator Jim DeMint (R-S.C.), would allow seniors who choose a private health plan to receive Social Security benefits by eliminating a Social Security-Medicare link established in regulations by the Social Security Administration. It would also allow seniors to opt back into the Medicare system without penalty, following guidelines set by the Secretary of Health and Human Services.

An estimated $1.5 billion in savings could be accrued immediately if just 1 percent of seniors opted out of Medicare Part A in favor of private health care insurance.


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