Congressman Vern Buchanan

Representing the 16th District of Florida

Buchanan Measure to Help Medicare Beneficiaries Passes Key Committee

Jun 26, 2019
Press Release
Boosts Medicare Counseling Funding to $150 Million For Next 3 Years

WASHINGTON – The House Ways and Means committee Wednesday passed a sweeping Medicare bill that includes U.S. Rep Vern Buchanan’s legislation to provide help free of charge to seniors and their families who have questions or issues with their health insurance.

“Our community is home to many of these sites that offer critical information and counseling services to Medicare beneficiaries and their families,” Buchanan said. “Many seniors in Florida struggle to navigate the complex bureaucracy of Medicare. My bipartisan bill will help ensure seniors get the answers they need.”

Known as the Enhancing Consumer Assistance for Medicare Beneficiaries Act, Buchanan introduced the legislation with Reps. Jimmy Gomez (D-CA) and Debbie Dingell (D-MI).

The Medicare advisory services are provided under the State Health Insurance Assistance Program (SHIP). Buchanan’s bill increases funding to $50 million annually over the next three years for this critical program. In addition to traditional Medicare, seniors can also receive assistance related to Medicare Advantage, and Part D drug programs.

Buchanan’s bill was included as part of the comprehensive BETTER Act, which passed with bipartisan support. The BETTER Act contains a number of provisions that will increase access to care, enhance outreach and education, and improve quality for seniors and individuals with disabilities.

As a senior member of the powerful Ways and Means Committee, which has jurisdiction over Social Security and Medicare, Buchanan will continue to fight to protect these programs. Last month, Buchanan co-sponsored bipartisan legislation to expand access to mental health resources for seniors by allowing marriage and family therapists and mental health counselors to provide services under Medicare.

In April, the Committee passed his bipartisan bill to provide greater transparency in drug pricing. That same month, the Committee also passed a sweeping retirement bill that included Buchanan’s bipartisan legislation to make it easier for businesses to offer retirement plans for workers.

According to USA Today, the average American has less than $4,000 in savings while nearly 60 percent of adults have less than $1,000 to their names. Millions of American employees stand to benefit from expanding the availability of workplace retirement plans. In fact, the AARP has found that workers are 15 times more likely to save when they have access to a retirement plan.

Buchanan represents over 220,000 Social Security recipients in the nation’s eighth-oldest congressional district.