Welcome to the Department of Justice, Iowa Attorney General Tom Miller

For immediate release -- Thursday, Sept. 5, 2002.

Contact Bob Brammer - 515-281-6699.

States Urge Congress to Act on Medicare Reimbursement

DES MOINES. Attorney General Tom Miller and 21 other state attorneys general are urging Congressional action to redress inequities in Medicare reimbursement rates paid to the states. The attorneys general represent a majority of the states that receive Medicare reimbursement rates below the national average.

"All of our citizens contribute equally to the Medicare system," the letter said. "But when it comes to access to care, not all of our citizens are treated equally. Access to health care under a federal program should not be dependent upon the state that a senior citizens lives in. Our seniors deserve better than this."

Miller emphasized that the inequities are especially acute in Iowa -- which ranks last among states in Medicare program payments per enrollee. In a separate letter to the seven members of Iowa's Congressional delegation, he noted that some estimate the Medicare disparity amounts to $1 billion a year for Iowa.

Miller also noted in his letter that he is "discussing with other state attorneys general the possibility of multi-state cooperative litigation" on the Medicare reimbursement gap. Miller and Governor Tom Vilsack also said recently that they are exploring potential litigation aimed at requiring the U.S. Dept. of Health & Human Services to use its authority to correct the inequities.

Miller also encouraged the Iowa Members of Congress "to continue to do all you can to convince the administration that HHS should act," and he underscored his appreciation of efforts by the Iowa delegation to rectify the Medicare reimbursement disparities.

The joint letter was signed by the attorneys general of AK, AR, DE, ID, IL, IA, KY, ME, MI, MN, MS, NV, NH, NM, OK, OR, UT, VA, WA, WV, WI, WY.

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