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Palmer bill would let seniors opt out of Medicare without losing Social Security benefits

Congressman Gary Palmer, R-Hoover, reintroduced the Retirement Freedom Act HR2108 on Thursday, which would allow senior citizens to opt out of Medicare without losing their Social Security benefits. Companion legislation was introduced by Sens. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, and Mike Lee, R-Utah.

“This bill would empower seniors by giving them more control over their healthcare decisions,” Palmer said. “People should not be forced to give up their private insurance because their Social Security is being held hostage.”

“The Retirement Freedom Act would empower our seniors with the power of choice by providing them with the freedom to choose healthcare that best suits their needs,” Cruz said upon Senate introduction. “Right now, seniors across the country are forced to enroll in Medicare Part A or risk losing their Social Security benefits if they take the steps to choose other healthcare options. I am hopeful my colleagues in Congress will act swiftly to empower America’s seniors with the freedom to choose a healthcare plan that fits their needs without the fear of losing their Social Security benefits.

“Our Retirement Freedom Act gives seniors the ability to act in their own best interest without bureaucrats threatening to take away their Social Security,” said Sen. Rand Paul, R-Kentucky. “It is a reform grounded in freedom and a respect for the American people, and it’s a model for the changes we can make to strengthen our health care system moving forward.”

“Seniors know their health care needs better than the federal government,” said Dan Weber, president of the Association of Mature American Citizens. “Every senior should be able to opt out of unwanted Medicare Part A benefits without losing their Social Security benefits. The Retirement Freedom Act puts healthcare freedom back into the hands of seniors and ensures every senior can choose the health care plan they want, while keeping their hard-earned Social Security benefits.”

“Seniors already pay a disproportionate share of their income for basics, like rent, food, medicine and utilities. And having them forced by federal government to choose between the right health care and receiving their Social Security benefits adds insult to injury and is just plain wrong,” said James Martin, founder and chairman of the 60 Plus Association, and Saul Anuzis, president of the 60 Plus Association. “This legislation is trying to right a wrong, and we applaud the senators’ efforts and stand with them as they continue to serve the needs of retirees. Thank you, senators, for your dedication and commitment to seniors nationwide.”

If passed, HR2108 would decouple Social Security and Medicare, allowing seniors to keep their private insurance without losing their Social Security benefits. Currently, seniors must forfeit Social Security if they do not enroll in Medicare Part A. The sponsors said this link between the two programs acts as a mechanism to force Medicare enrollment, which is an overreach by the Social Security Administration and a serious restriction on seniors’ freedom of choice in their healthcare.

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Sponsors said HR2108 seeks to give that freedom back and to be one step toward fixing the entitlement system.

Congressman Gary Palmer represents Alabama’s Sixth Congressional District.

Written By

Brandon Moseley is a former reporter at the Alabama Political Reporter.



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