- Action #1: Sign a petition to HHS Sec. Xavier Becerra that asks him to exercise his power to end this dangerous program.
- UPDATE: Action #2: Call your representative to also support H.R.3. – the Elijah E. Cummings Lower Drug Costs Now Act and to thank-or-spank them about Rep. Jayapal’s letter to HHS Sec. Becerra.
- Action #3: Change starts at home – In the meantime, we need to move forward with AB1400, Medicare for All in California.
However, Rep. Katie Porter is sounding the alarm!
In May of 2021, four members of the U.S. House of Representatives (Reps. Mark Pocan, Bill Pascrell, Jr., Lloyd Doggett, and Katie Porter) sent a letter to Dept. of Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra expressing concern about Medicare Direct Contracting, and calling for an immediate freeze of the program.
We need to educate Congress — and soon.
During the final days of the Trump Administration, while our president was handing out get-out-of-jail-free cards to Medicare fraudsters, officials at the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation (CMMI) launched a dangerous and insidious pilot program known as Medicare Direct Contracting.
Seriously, you know what would be a real innovation? MEDICARE FOR ALL! No more multi-million dollar corporate salaries. No more “up-coding” for maximum profits. Cost savings from the massive buying power of the federal government. Medical ACCESS for all would actually save us about $450 BILLION dollars a year.
Instead, Trump’s CMMI came up with this scam…a privatization scheme which would automatically enroll more than 30 million seniors who’d deliberately chosen traditional Medicare into for-profit “Direct Contracting Entities,” (DCEs) instead, without their full knowledge or consent.
This scam allows virtually any type of company to apply to be a DCE, including commercial insurers, venture capital investors, and for-profit dialysis chains. DCEs have already received a huge influx of money from the same private equity firms who’ve been busy destroying America’s retail industry, and who came so close to owning our infrastructure under Trump. Business-as-usual for them will be an inexorable march towards limiting seniors’ care in order to maximize their profits, while passing expenses right back to patients. These sociopathic financial pirates would completely transform traditional Medicare into a shadow of itself within the next few years, and they can do it all without any oversight from Congress. Unless we stop DCEs, these entities could spell the end of Medicare as a public, nonprofit, social insurance program and the most shocking part is that most of our legislators have no idea this is happening.
Action #1: Sign a petition to HHS Sec. Xavier Becerra and ask him to exercise his power to end this dangerous program.
Thousands of doctors and other advocates have already signed a petition demanding that Secretary of Health and Human Services Xavier Becerra halt the DC program, provide real oversight of CMS’ Innovation Center, and protect Medicare for future generations. (One-page fact sheet: pnhp.org/DCEFactSheet)
Sign the petition here: https://pnhp.salsalabs.org/dcepetitionseptember2021/index.html
UPDATE: Action #2: Call your representative to also support H.R.3. – the Elijah E. Cummings Lower Drug Costs Now Act and to talk to them about Rep. Jayapal’s letter to HHS Sec. Becerra.
Rep. Pramila Jayapal (lead sponsor of H.R. 1976, the Medicare for All Act) just sent a sign-on letter to every member of Congress (read the letter here) addressed to HHS Sec. Xavier Becerra, asking him to immediately end the Medicare Direct Contracting pilot program.
UPDATE: Carbajal signed on, Brownley didn’t. See where your rep. stood here (bottom of article)
Minimal script: I’m calling from [zip code) and as a person [who is on Medicare now/who hopes a robust Medicate program is still there when I need it], I want Representative [___] to support and push through H.R.3 – Elijah E. Cummings Lower Drug Costs Now Act, which would protect Medicare enrollee from excessive costs and unfair prices.
Additional script if you want it: I also want Rep. [___] to know that I was [pleased that he/she signed/ disappointed that he/she didn’t sign] onto Rep. Jayapal’s letter to HHS Secretary Becerra to immediately end the Medicare Direct Contracting program, which opens the door to venture capitalists and other for-profit entities to privatize Medicare, destroying a program that Americans from both sides of the aisle have depended on for generations.
(Who’s already a cosponsor of H.R.3 here. Brownley STILL has NOT signed (01/05), Carbajal has.)
- Rep. Julia Brownley (CA-26): email, DC (202) 225-5811, Oxnard (805) 379-1779, T.O. (805) 379-1779
- or Rep. Salud Carbajal (CA-24): email. DC (202) 225-3601, SB (805) 730-1710 SLO (805) 546-8348
- Who is my representative/senator?: https://whoismyrepresentative.com
Action #3: Change starts at home – In the meantime, we need to move forward with AB1400, Medicare for All in California.
AB1400 MUST pass out of the Health Committee, the Appropriations Committee, and the floor by the end of January, or the bill DIES for yet another legislative session! There are many ways in which we can all help health care for all become a reality in California!
First – let your own assemblymember know that this bill is important to you.
Minimal script: I’m calling from [zip code] and I want Assemblymember [___] to know that AB1400 is important for my own health and that of my family and I will be watching for [his/her] vote.
- State Assemblymember Steve Bennett: (CA-37): email, SAC (916) 319-2037, SB (805) 564-1649, VTA (805) 641-3700
- State Assemblymember Jacqui Irwin: (CA-44): email, SAC (916) 319-2044, CAM (805) 482-1904, OX (805) 483-4488
- Not your people? Which assemblymember/state senator is mine?: findyourrep.legislature.ca.gov.
More information on the Medicare Direct Contracting scam:
- Direct Contracting one-page fact sheet
- Direct Contracting policy primer (4 pages)
- Form sent to seniors in Indiana University Hospital System requesting voluntary alignment to a DCE
- Article about Direct Contracting in Health Affairs journal by former CMS Administrator Dr. Don Berwick and former CMS Innovation Center director Dr. Rick Gilfillan:
- List of current DCEs
- CONTRACT between CMS and Direct Contracting Entities
- Direct Contracting Entities’ Financial Operating GUIDE from CMS
- “Is There a New Plot to Privatize Medicare Afoot?” interview with Dr. Ana Malinow, Thom Hartmann Program, September 20, 2021
- “Wall Street’s Latest Attack on Traditional Medicare,” interview with Dr. Ed Weisbart, Code Wack Podcast, October 18, 2021, (part one of this two-part podcast, which covers Medicare Advantage, available HERE)
- “Medicare Direct Contracting call-in,” interview with Dr. Ana Malinow, Redwood Community Radio, KMUD, October 1, 2021
- “Docs Come to D.C. to Protest Medicare’s Direct Contracting Program,” by Joyce Frieden, MedPage Today, December 1, 2021
- “Congress ‘Asleep at the Switch’ as Biden Continues Trump-Era Ploy to Privatize Medicare,” by Jake Johnson, Common Dreams, November 30, 2021
- “Biden moves forward with Trump Medicare privatization plan,” by Chris Tomlinson, Houston Chronicle, November 8, 2021
- “Direct Contracting Entities: The Latest Scam to Privatize Medicare,” by Lambert Strether, Naked Capitalism, September 27, 2021
- “This latest under-the-radar program could push Medicare deeper into private hands,” by Trudy Lieberman, Center for Health Journalism, March 11, 2021
- “Trump administration attempts to privatize traditional Medicare,” by Diane Archer, JustCare USA, December 17, 2020
- “Stop the corporate Medicare money-grab,” by Dr. Emily Kane, Senior Voice Alaska, December 1, 2021
- “Willie Sutton and the brave new world of Medicare privatization,” by Dr. Marvin Malek, VTDigger, November 30, 2021
- “Medicare and Social Security have been successful,” by David Ross Stevens, News and Tribune (Jeffersonville, Ind.), November 24, 2021
- “Medicare is on the menu,” by Dr. Robert S. Kiefner, Concord (N.H.) Monitor, November 12, 2021
- “A successful Medicare should never be privatized,” by Dr. Elizabeth Rosenthal, The Riverdale Press (Bronx, N.Y.), October 31, 2021