Barbara B. Kennelly, President and CEO of the National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare, issued the following message to NCPSSM members and supporters today:

“Once again we’ve seen the profits of the insurance industry take precedence over a call for help from America’s seniors and their doctors. The Administration’s allies in the Senate last night rejected HR 6331, a bill that would have preserved Medicare beneficiaries’ access to their doctors by averting a physician fee cut. Instead of approving important beneficiary improvements for the more than 44 million seniors and people with disabilities served by Medicare, a minority in the Senate once again blocked action on legislation that would have begun to reduce the overpayment of billions of tax payer dollars to Medicare Advantage insurers.

H.R. 6331 would have improved access to prevention and mental health services for all beneficiaries, and decreased the cost-sharing burden for low-income seniors who often forgo services because of expense. In addition, the bill would have preserved access to needed physical, occupational and speech-language therapy and prohibit many of the abusive marketing practices used to enroll beneficiaries in private Medicare Advantage plans and Part D prescription drug plans.

The momentum of the on-going privatization of Medicare continues to worsen the economic and healthcare outlook for the elderly. How ironic as the Presidential candidates discuss improvements to our nation’s healthcare system, the Congress continues to weaken our one universal healthcare plan – Medicare.”