FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: May 18, 2022
Media Contact: Clare Fauke, Physicians for a National Health Program, email@example.com
WHAT: “Turning up the Heat on Medicare Direct Contracting and REACH” event
WHEN: Monday, May, 23 at 1:00 p.m. EDT (45 minutes)
WHO: Speakers include:
- U.S. Rep. Katie Porter
- U.S. Rep. Pramila Jayapal
- Drs. Ed Weisbart and Ana Malinow, Physicians for a National Health Program
- Rick Timmins, Puget Sound Advocates for Retirement Action
- Dee Dorsey and Bill Bianchi, Jane Addams Senior Caucus
- Kathryn Donahue, RN, California Alliance for Retired Americans
- Dr. Laurel Mark, co-chair of Physicians for a National Health Program Wisconsin Chapter
HOW TO WATCH: The event will be broadcast live on ActTV. Watch live at ProtectMedicare.net/WatchNow
On Monday, May 23 at 1:00 p.m. ET, thousands of seniors, doctors, nurses, and community leaders will gather to learn about Medicare Direct Contracting and REACH, and how they can fight back against Medicare profiteering.
“Turning up the Heat on Medicare Direct Contracting and REACH” will include a presentation on the nuts-and-bolts of Direct Contacting (to be renamed “REACH” in 2023), testimonials from Medicare beneficiaries, and a call to action from Congresswomen Katie Porter and Pramila Jayapal.
U.S. Rep. Jayapal, who is the chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, encouraged seniors and health care advocates to join the event. “The Direct Contracting and REACH program is Medicare privatization hidden in layers of bureaucracy,” she said. “It allows a profit seeking third-party like a health insurer or private-equity backed firm to get paid by Medicare to manage seniors’ care, taking for themselves as profit whatever they don’t want to spend on the patient. That’s why the Congressional Progressive Caucus is calling on the Biden Administration to fully end this program.”
Retired veterinarian Rick Timmins, an active member of the Puget Sound Advocates for Retirement Action (PSARA), will share his story about a life-threatening delay in care caused by insurance middlemen in Medicare Advantage. “I learned the hard way that if Wall Street firms are allowed to make decisions about your health care, their profits will always come first,” said Timmins. “When I heard that Medicare was expanding the role of profit-seeking middlemen through Direct Contracting and REACH, I knew I had to speak up.”
Timmins noted that PSARA recently helped pass a Seattle City Council resolution calling for an end to Direct Contracting and REACH and all Medicare profiteering, and encouraged other local groups to take action.
What is Direct Contracting and REACH?
Direct Contracting (which will be renamed “REACH” in 2023) changes the way that Traditional Medicare pays for care. Instead of paying doctors directly, Medicare pays a third-party middleman a monthly fee to “manage” seniors’ care, allowing the middleman to keep what they don’t spend on health services (up to 40%) as overhead and profit. Virtually any type of company can be a Direct Contracting middleman, including Medicare Advantage insurance companies, private equity investors, and other Wall Street profiteers. Seniors who chose Traditional Medicare are being automatically enrolled into Direct Contracting without their knowledge or consent. Today, 99 Direct Contracting Entities have enrolled 1.8 million beneficiaries in nearly every state.
The event is co-sponsored by Physicians for a National Health Program, Social Security Works, Public Citizen, Indivisible, People’s Action, California Alliance for Retired Americans, Puget Sound Advocates for Retirement Action, and Jane Addams Senior Caucus.
Physicians for a National Health Program (pnhp.org) is a nonprofit research and education organization whose more than 25,000 members support single-payer Medicare for All reform.