A coalition of organizations ranging from the Competitive Enterprise Institute and Eagle Forum to the Foundation for Economic Freedom and Hispanic Leadership Fund is asking President Trump to use his pen and phone, much as Barack Obama did, to fix a requirement that Social Security recipients sign up for Medicare hospitalization insurance.
The Citizens’ Council for Health Freedom released a copy of a letter the organizations sent to the president asking that he allow senior citizens to opt out of Medicare without losing their Social Security benefits, for which they paid taxes.
Although that opt-out was available to Americans for decades, it hasn’t been there for them for the last 20 years or so.
The letter asks that the right be restored.
“This is neither a law or a rule,” said CCHF President Twila Brase, “but rather a series of executive instructions added by previous administrations to the SSA Program Operations Manual System – essentially a handbook for SSA employees. These instructions limit the options of senior citizens, leaving most of them stuck in Medicare, which is a voluntary entitlement program, even if they want to keep private coverage or keep private insurance as their primary coverage.”
The organizations joining the effort include 60 Plus Association, Action 4 Liberty, Alabama Policy Institute, American Commitment, American Family Association, Association of American Physicians and Surgeons, Association of Mature American Citizens, Center of the American Experiment, Center for Freedom and Prosperity, Center for Medical Freedom, Freedom Works Foundation, Galen Institute, Goldwater Institute, Hispanic Leadership Fund, HSA Benefits Consulting, HSA Coalition, Citizens against Government Waste, Competitive Enterprise Institute, Eagle Forum, Foundation for Economic Freedom, Freedom Works, Independence Institute, Independent Women’s Forum, Institute for Policy Innovation, John Locke Foundation, National Taxpayers Union, Physicians for Reform, Tea Party Patriots Action, Texas Public Policy Institute, Heartland Institute, Middle Resolution, Virginia Tea Party Federation, Washington Policy Center and the Wisconsin Institute for Law and Liberty.
The groups contend the current practice of the Social Security Administration “unlawfully prohibits an individual from receiving their Social Security benefits unless they enroll in Medicare Part A.”
But the Trump administration “has the opportunity to right this wrong by simply removing these executive instructions from the SSA handbook.”
The move would protect against a single-payer program, allow development of lifelong private insurance and reduce Medicare expenditures.
“CCHF has met with the Trump administration to ask for this unfair and misguided policy to be lifted. The organization, which is focused on protecting patient and doctor freedom, is now working to engage the American public in supporting this important initiative. Concerned Americans can sign a citizen petition to President Trump and forward it to their friends and family members to sign as well,” the organization said.
Brase continued: “Making this change will have NO impact on those who have enrolled, wish to stay enrolled, or want to enroll in Medicare in the future. It simply allows senior citizens to collect their rightful Social Security benefits without being required to enroll in, or remain enrolled in, Medicare Part A.”
It was that way in the past, and while few availed themselves of the option, there were no significant impacts on the system.
The changes were adopted by previous presidential administrations “without congressional approval.”
The letter said the procedures “effectively trap seniors in Medicare, but you have the authority to liberate them.”
The original Medicare Act of 1965 declared: “Nothing contained in this Act shall be construed to preclude … any individual from purchasing or otherwise securing, protection against the cost of any health services.”
But the actions of previous presidents have made Medicare, for practical purposes, “the only insurance coverage available to elderly Americans, even if they have other preferred coverage they are willing to pay for.”