Press Release by Congresswoman Pelosi

Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi

Testimony Before the National Bipartisan Commission on the Future of Medicare

September 25, 1998

In testimony submitted to the National Bipartisan Commission on the Future of Medicare, Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) today continued her longstanding support for "Medicare for all." "Medicare is one of our great success stories. It provides quality health insurance to 38 million Americans at a low administrative cost. In the future, it can be the foundation for increased access to health care for all Americans," Pelosi said.

Rep. Pelosi recently sponsored two well-attended town meetings on the future of Medicare in San Francisco. "People who came to these meetings urged elected officials to protect the long term financial health of the program. But they also shared their visions of what Medicare can be -- a more comprehensive program that better meets the needs of beneficiaries, and provides health insurance to many of those who have difficulty purchasing private insurance," Pelosi said.

On the basis of constituent responses, policy research and in keeping with the theme of "Medicare for all," Rep. Pelosi made a series of recommendations to the Commission:

Expand services available in Medicare. The program should provide reimbursement for needed drug therapies, long term care services, dental and vision care, and prevention services.

Expand eligibility for Medicare. Medicare can serve as the foundation for increased access to health care for all Americans, especially for the "near elderly."

Address the legitimate concerns of Medicare providers. The interim payment system for home health agencies threatens to put many providers out of business.

Address concerns of People with AIDS and other disabilities. Changes should include: guaranteed availability of supplemental Medicare insurance for disabled individuals; guaranteed access to an HIV expert as a primary care provider and for specialist services.

Rep. Pelosi has cosponsored legislation consistent with these recommendations.

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