Bill, Lawsuit Aim for Choice

Published May 1, 2009

House Resolution 1118, the Health Care Choices for Seniors Act introduced February 27 by Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN), is one of several recent efforts to allow seniors to opt out of Medicare without losing the Social Security benefits they spent their working lives paying into.

This spring a federal court will hear the lawsuit of Brian Hall, et al. v. Michael Leavitt, et al., in which several senior citizens are suing to overturn the government’s policy preventing payment of Social Security benefits to those who do not enroll in Medicare.

Kent Masterson Brown, the plaintiffs’ lawyer, claims the policies in the Social Security Administration operations manual linking Medicare and Social Security were never properly promulgated and are thus invalid.

“I think the merits of the suit are very, very strong, and the suit has an excellent chance of winning,” said Greg Scandlen, director of Consumers for Health Care Choices at The Heartland Institute. “Once it wins, [the Health Care Choices for Seniors Act] would be helpful in getting ready for what happens next.”

— Jillian Melchior