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Latino Daily News

Saturday February 5, 2011

Hispanics to Lose Access to Medicare Drugs and Treatment

Hispanics to Lose Access to Medicare Drugs and Treatment

Photo: Rep. Toni Berrios

Click Here to Enlarge Photo

An American Heritage Foundation study has determined that because of The Healthcare Reform Act “low income beneficiaries and minorities, especially Hispanics will bear the brunt of the cuts. About three fourths of the cuts will hit those with incomes of less than $32,400 per year in today’s dollars, said Rep. Maria “Toni” Berrios, D-Chicago.

A new reimbursement formula for Medicaid translates into a loss of benefit (or money) for patients who stay in certain Medicare plans. Up to one-half of those affected may lose coverage entirely.

Change will come slowly to Medicare, which covers 46 million seniors and disabled people. There will be winners, losers and a net cut of $428 billion, Berrios said. The most significant new benefit - closing the prescription coverage gap - will not be fully phased in until 2020. In addition, cardiologists will be limited in the number of EKGs they can give to seniors. Eye care and many other important medical services could see cuts.

“This is something I am very concerned about,” Representative Berrios said. With this tough economy, it is very important for our lawmakers in Washington to protect Medicare for our seniors. Cutting Medicare will have a devastating effect on people of color, many of whom are suffering already. I urge bureaucrats and politicians in Washington to fight for Hispanics.”

Berrios said Hispanics have the highest uninsured rates of any racial or ethnic group in the United States with one-quarter living in poverty.