This week, the partial federal government shutdown continued for the fifth week, and The Senior Citizens League (TSCL) announced its support for one new bill that would expand Medicare coverage to include essential health services.
Government Shutdown Continues for Fifth Week
The federal government remained partially closed this week for the fifth straight week. It remains the longest government shutdown in United States history, and at the time of writing this week’s legislative update, only minor progress had been made towards a bipartisan deal to end it.
Despite the continued standoff on Capitol Hill, Social Security and Medicare beneficiaries should rest assured that their benefits will not be impacted by the ongoing shutdown. Both Social Security and Medicare are “mandatory” programs, which means that benefits will go out in full and as scheduled regardless of the federal government’s operating status. In addition, the administrative offices for both programs are fully funded and are currently operating normally, so those applying for benefits should not see any delays in their requests.
Nonetheless, The Senior Citizens League urges lawmakers to act responsibly and to fund the federal government immediately so that federal agencies can operate as smoothly as possible. In the days ahead, we will keep a close eye on the evolving negotiations, and we will continue to advocate for legislative solutions that would fully fund the federal government.
New Bill Would Expand Medicare Coverage
This week, The Senior Citizens League announced its support for the Seniors Have Eyes, Ears, and Teeth Act (H.R. 576), which was recently introduced by Representative Lucille Roybal-Allard (CA-40) with the support of seventy-eight original House cosponsors.
If adopted, the Seniors Have Eyes, Ears, and Teeth Act would expand Medicare coverage to include essential hearing, vision, and dental care. Under current law, the traditional Medicare program is prohibited from covering these basic health care services, and millions of seniors living on fixed incomes cannot afford to pay out-of-pocket for routine care or assistive technologies like hearing aids.
In a letter of support, Art Cooper – Chairman of The Senior Citizens League’s Board of Trustees – wrote: “As you know, millions of older Americans are afflicted with age-related hearing loss, low vision, and poor oral health … When left untreated, their conditions often cause much more serious injuries and health complications. But when successfully treated, the result is improved overall health and potentially lower costs for Medicare and patients.”
The Senior Citizens League enthusiastically supports the Seniors Have Eyes, Ears, and Teeth Act, and we believe its passage is essential in order for older Americans to maintain their dignity and good health in retirement. In the months ahead, we look forward to working with Representative Roybal-Allard to help build support for her bill, and we hope to see it signed into law before the end of this year.
For more information about the Seniors Have Eyes, Ears, and Teeth Act or to view a list of bills endorsed by The Senior Citizens League in the 116th Congress, visit the Bill Tracking section of our website.