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***News Release***

Groups Petition Trump to Allow Seniors to Opt Out of Medicare Without Losing Social Security Benefits

Leading the Charge, Citizens’ Council for Health Freedom Says President Has the Opportunity to Right a Wrong by Removing Executive Instructions 

PAUL, Minn.Citizens’ Council for Health Freedom (CCHF) and other respected health organizations are urging President Donald Trump to allow senior citizens to voluntarily opt out of Medicare—without losing their Social Security benefits.

In a letter sent to the White House Wednesday, CCHF and 37 other groups highlighted the fact that the current practice of the Social Security Administration (SSA) unlawfully prohibits an individual from receiving their Social Security benefits unless they enroll in Medicare Part A (hospitalization).

This is neither a law or a rule,” said CCHF president and co-founder Twila Brase, “but rather a series of executive instructions added by previous administrations to the SSA Program Operations Manual System (POMS)—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 Trump administration, the letter notes, has the opportunity to right this wrong by simply removing these executive instructions from the SSA handbook. Several benefits beyond freedom of choice for seniors include:

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.

“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,” Brase said. “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.”

According to the letter to President Trump, in the past, Americans could waive their Medicare benefits, if they wished, without losing their Social Security. In practice, few availed themselves of this option. Unfortunately, under present procedures, initiated by prior administrations without congressional approval, no one may receive Social Security benefits if they decline Medicare Part A (hospital insurance) benefits.

This leaves seniors with few coverage options today except Medicare because private insurers, as a general rule, decline to cover people who are enrolled in or eligible for Medicare. As a result, Medicare has become, for all practical purposes, the only medical coverage available to elderly Americans, even if they have other preferred coverage they could retain and they are willing to pay for.

“These procedures effectively trap seniors in Medicare, but you have the authority to liberate them,” the  groups told President Trump.

This situation is also unfair to seniors, Brase added. It is contrary to the intention of Congress as well. The Medicare Act of 1965 declares: “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.”

“Present procedures render that promise empty,” Brase said.

Besides CCHF, co-signers of the letter include 60 Plus Association, American Family Association, Association of Mature American Citizens, Center for Medical Freedom, Competitive Enterprise Institute, Citizens Against Government Waste, Foundation for Economic Freedom, FreedomWorks, Galen Institute, Goldwater Institute, Independent Women’s Voice, The Heartland Institute, Texas Public Policy Institute and Washington Policy Center, among others.

In addition to highlighting unfair government practices such as these, Brase’s new book, Big Brother in the Exam Room: The Dangerous Truth About Electronic Health Records,” published this summer by Beaver’s Pond Press, also exposes how and why Congress forced doctors and hospitals to install a data-collecting, command-and-control surveillance system in the exam room. “Big Brother in the Exam Room,” already in its second printing, also includes the negative impact of EHRs on privacy, personalized care, costs, patient safety and more, according to doctors and data from more than 125 studies. Learn more at www.BigBrotherInTheExamRoom.com.

For more information about CCHF, visit www.cchfreedom.org, its Facebook page or its Twitter feed @CCHFreedom. Read more about “Big Brother in the Exam Room” here, and view the media page for CCHF here. For more about CCHF’s free-market, cash-based care initiative, The Wedge of Health Freedom, visit www.JointheWedge.com, The Wedge Facebook page or follow The Wedge on Twitter @wedgeoffreedom.