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Congressman Gene Green

Representing the 29th District of Texas

Sen. Bingaman and Rep. Green Introduce Companion Legislation to Eliminate Two-Year Medicare Waiting Period

March 19, 2009
Press Release
Washington, DC - Senator Jeff Bingaman (D-NM) and Representative Gene Green (D-TX), joined by Representative Lee Terry (R-NE), today introduced the Ending the Medicare Disability Waiting Period Act of 2009.  Both were introduced in the House (H.R. 1708) and Senate (S. 700), and would eliminate the two-year delay in coverage for people with severe disabilities who are waiting to become eligible for Medicare coverage.
Currently, 6 million disabled individuals under 65 years of age are subject to the Medicare waiting period, resulting in an estimated 400,000 Americans with disabilities living without health insurance during a time when quality health care is most critical.
“It is unacceptable that this vulnerable population is forced to go without health insurance for two years because they cannot afford to pay for COBRA coverage or individual insurance before they qualify for Medicare coverage,” said Rep. Green. “We cannot leave one of our most at risk populations without health care.”
At any one time about 1.5 million people who have a disability that prevents them from working are caught in a two-year waiting period for Medicare. The waiting period comes on top of an initial wait for the Social Security Administration to determine eligibility for disability insurance (SSDI) plus a five-month waiting period to begin receiving SSDI payments.
"It is absurd that seniors with devastating injuries should have to wait two years before receiving medical treatment," said Rep. Terry.
The waiting period forces people with severe disabilities to wait two years, during which many seniors who cannot afford health care forgo expensive treatments and care, putting them at an unnecessary risk.  Often these untreated conditions are more costly to treat when Medicare coverage finally begins.  Below is a list of supporting organizations.
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Supporting Organizations:
Advocacy for Patients with Chronic Illness, Inc.
AIDS Action Baltimore, Inc.
AIDS Charitable Trust of New Mexico
AIDS Treatment Data Network
AIDS Treatment News
Alpha-1 Association
Alpha-1 Foundation
Alzheimer’s Association
American Academy of Neurology
American Autoimmune Related Diseases
American Cancer Society Cancer Action
Network (ACS CAN)
American Council of the Blind (ACB)
American Foundation for the Blind (AFB)
American Medical Rehabilitation Providers
Association (AMRPA)
American Network of Community Options and Resources (ANCOR)
American Psychological Association
Amputee Coalition of America
Amyloidosis Support Groups
Arthritis Foundation
Association for Ambulatory Behavioral
Association for Frontotemporal Dementias
Association of Assistive Technology Act
Programs (ATAP)
Association of Community Cancer Centers
Association of Programs for Rural Independent Living (APRIL)
Association of University Centers on Disabilities
Barrier Free Living, Inc.
Bazelon Center for Mental Health Law
Benign Essential Blepharospasm Research Foundation (BEBRF)
Breast Cancer Network of Strength
Brooklyn Center for Independence of the Disabled
Catskill Center for Independence
Center for Disability Rights, Inc.
Center for Independence of the Disabled in New York
Center for Medicare Advocacy
Children's Tumor Foundation
Coalition for Pulmonary Fibrosis
Coalition of Behavioral Health Agencies, Inc.
Commission on the Public's Health System (CPHS)
Community AIDS National Network (TIICANN)
Community Health Charities of America
COPD Foundation
Crohn's and Colitis Foundation of America
Cystic Fibrosis Foundation
Disability Rights Education and Defense Fund
Easter Seals
Ehlers Danlos National Foundation
Epilepsy Foundation
Families USA
Geriatric Mental Health Alliance of New York
Harlem Independent Living Center
Hispanic Senior Action Council
HIV Medicine Association
HIV/AIDS Services for African Americans in Alaska
HIVictorious, Inc.
Incontinentia Pigmenti International Foundation
Independence Care System
International Foundation for Alternative
Research in AIDS (IFARA)
International Pemphigus and Pemphigoid Foundation
Institute for the Puerto Rican/Hispanic Elderly, Inc
Kennedy's Disease Association
Leukemia & Lymphoma Society
Lupus Foundation of America
Medicare Rights Center
Men's Health Network
Mental Health America
Michigan Positive Action Coalition
Mississippi Coalition for Citizens with
Myasthenia Gravis Foundation of America (MGFA)
National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys (NAELA)
National Alliance of State and Territorial AIDS Directors (NASTAD)
National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI)
National Association of Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders (ANAD)
National Association of People with AIDS
National Association of State Directors of Developmental Disabilities Services
National Association of State Directors of Special Education (NASDSE)
National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare (NCPSSM)
National Council for Community Behavioral Healthcare National Council on Independent Living (NCIL)
National Disability Rights Network
National Down Syndrome Congress
National Family Caregivers Association
National Gray Panthers
National Health Council
National Marfan Foundation
National Multiple Sclerosis Society
National Organization of Rare Disorders
National Organization of Social Security
Claimants’ Representatives (NOSSCR)
National Patient Advocate Foundation
New Mexico AIDS Services
New York Citizens’ Committee on Aging
North American Brain Tumor Coalition (NABTC)
NTM Info & Research
Paralyzed Veterans of America
Parent to Parent of NY State
Parents United Together of Mississippi
Pulmonary Hypertension Association
Options for Independence, Inc.
Regional Center for Independent Living
The Resource Center for Accessible Living, Inc.
Rose F. Kennedy University Center for
Excellence in Developmental Disabilities, Albert Einstein College of Medicine
Scleroderma Foundation
Shwachman Diamond Syndrome Foundation
Southern Tier Independence Center
Special Needs Alliance
Spina Bifida Association
Syncope Trust and Reflex Anoxic Seizures (STARS)
The AIDS Institute
The Arc of the United States
United Cerebral Palsy
United Jewish Communities
United Spinal Association
Village Care of New York
Westchester Independent Living Center