Alan Grayson Introduces Legislation To Expand Medicare
Wednesday my doctor told me that I'm recovering from 9 months of cancer treatment much more rapidly and strongly than she expected. She was so overjoyed that she told me that instead of coming to the hospital for checkups twice a week, I can come twice a month.
One thing that was really lucky for me is that I was diagnosed when I was 66, a year into my relationship with Medicare. As president of a division of TimeWarner, I had incredible health insurance (part of my employment contract). My coverage lacked for nothing. But-- except for some glaring omissions that Orlando Congressman Alan Grayson is addressing in his new bill-- Medicare is at least as good. My cancer treatment cost way over a million dollars. Medicare, plus the inexpensive supplemental insurance I buy on the side, paid all the costs. I don't think I spent $100 out of pocket for anything related to the treatment!
Most Americans are proud that our country is celebrating the 50th anniversary of Medicare. Grayson, though, is working on expanding it. "Today I introduced a bill," he wrote, "that will repeal the ban on Medicare coverage for eyeglasses, hearing aids and dental care... Seniors have eyes, ears and teeth, and any program designed to keep them healthy must include access to vision, hearing and dental care. Thanks to Medicare, for 50 years now our seniors have received the healthcare that they’ve needed to stay healthy, and to live a full life. But despite this success, this glaring gap in Medicare coverage needs to be closed.
Somewhere in Florida tonight there's a senior who is going to have to figure out how to get to sleep with the searing pain of a severe tooth ache throbbing away. Tomorrow morning, a senior somewhere in Florida will struggle to make out a blurry prescription label through a pair of glasses that haven't brought life into focus for months. Across our great state, grandmothers and grandfathers will wonder if they'll be able to hear their grandchildren's voices, or the doorbell, or even sirens.There's no reason to think "ex"-Republican Patrick Murphy would support Grayson's initiative. Murphy has voted more frequently than almost any Democrat in Congress for Boehner's anti-family agenda rather than progressive alternatives. But Chuck Schumer, at the behest of his pals on Wall Street, is forcing the DSCC to work to sabotage Grayson, while pumping for Murphy. Schumer has personally been calling New York progressive donors and demanding they not contribute to Grayson's campaign. He doesn't want another senator from the Elizabeth Warren wing of the Democratic Party. He wants conservative Wall Street shills like Murphy.
That's just wrong.
Seniors who depend on Medicare should be able to afford eyeglasses, eye exams, hearing aids, cavity fillings and dentures. And it says something about our priorities as a nation that the law currently bans treatment for medical conditions that lead to blindness, deafness, lost teeth and serious gum disease, which has been strongly linked to heart disease.
There are 2.7 million seniors in America who are blind. How many of them would be able to see today, if they had received a simple annual eye exam as part of their Medicare coverage?
You can tell a lot about a society by how we care for their elderly. Right now, our seniors are being shortchanged.
I think it's time to give seniors a raise and make sure that they have he quality healthcare that we have promised them from a system they've paid into for decades.
You can watch Grayson's announcement video-- and, if you want to-- contribute to his Senate campaign right here.