Rep. Levin Introduces Legislation to Strengthen Medicare Benefits for Seniors

Jul 12, 2017

Congressman Levin recently introduced a bill, the Medicare Dental, Vision, and Hearing Benefit Act (H.R. 3111), to improve covered benefits for seniors under Medicare Part B. The bill would repeal the statutory exclusion on coverage of important items and services and expand the benefit package to include dental, vision, and hearing care.

H.R. 3111 would provide for comprehensive coverage of crucial items and services, including routine dental cleanings and exams, fillings and crowns, refractive eye exams, hearing exams, and other important services not currently covered by Medicare. In addition, it would also provide for payment for items such as full and partial dentures, eyeglasses, low-vision devices, and hearing aids. The bill would gradually phase in new benefits over an eight-year period.

Congressman Levin believes it's important to improve and expand access to health care in the U.S., not limit it as recent efforts proposed in the House and Senate have attempted to do. H.R 3111 is an important step in this direction that would improve access to care for millions of seniors and people with disabilities. More information on the bill is available here.

Rep. Levin Advocates on behalf of Detained Chaldeans
On July 7, Rep. Levin wrote once again to the Immigration Control and Enforcement (ICE) Detroit Field Office in response to recent reports that detained Iraqi Americans scheduled for deportation, many of whom are Chaldean, were not provided regular contact with their attorneys and families.  Many of those detained from the Metro Detroit area have significant ties to the community, including spouses and children who are U.S. citizens.  Rep. Levin has repeatedly requested information from ICE regarding the detained individuals slated for deportation.  You can read the latest letter here.  In addition, on Tuesday night, the District Court ruled to assert jurisdiction and provide an injunction against the deportation because of the extraordinary danger that exists for Iraqis if they are sent to Iraq.  The decision rightfully notes that absent such an effort, a basic right of our Constitution, a right to a day in court, would be violated.   You can read Rep. Levin’s press statement here

Rep. Levin stands in support of ACA with Senator Debbie Stabenow and Patients
Last week, Rep. Levin joined Senator Debbie Stabenow and patients who have benefited from the Affordable Care Act at Beaumont Hospital in Royal Oak, highlighting how the ACA has directly impacted many in our own communities. Rep. Levin asked patients to share their stories of the ACA in light of recent attempts to repeal the ACA and jeopardize health coverage for millions in Michigan and across the country.

Thanks to the ACA, the uninsured rate in Michigan has dropped from 12.4% in 2010 to 6.1% in 2015. More than 660,000 Michiganders have insurance thanks to the Medicaid expansion, Healthy Michigan, and about another 321,000 purchased insurance through the exchange. The non-partisan Congressional Budget Office has estimated that 22 million Americans would lose coverage under the Senate Republican ACA repeal plan. You can find some of the stories shared on Congressman Levin’s website.

Proposed FY 2018 Bill Provides Full Funding for the GLRI
Yesterday, the House Appropriations Committee released the Fiscal Year 2018 Interior and Environment Appropriations bill, which included $300 million for the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative (GLRI). While there are still several steps that must be taken before FY 2018 appropriations are finalized, it is clear that the bipartisan advocacy led by Rep. Levin in support of fully funding the GLRI and rejecting the Trump Administration’s irresponsible plan to eliminate the initiative has been noted by colleagues on the Appropriations Committee.  You can read more about this here.

The GLRI was launched in 2009 by President Obama. Over the last seven years, with bipartisan support from Congress, the federal government has invested nearly $2 billion on more than 3,400 projects to clean up contaminated sediments, reduce polluted runoff from cities and farms, fight aquatic invaders like the Asian carp, and restore habitat in the Great Lakes and their tributaries. Rep. Levin has been the top Democrat leading the effort to fund the GLRI.

This week on the House floor:
This week the House considers the Gaining Responsibility on Water Act of 2017 (H.R. 23), which takes numerous actions to increase the availability of water in California’s Central Valley region at the expense of the rest of the state, and does so by pre-empting California state laws and weakening federal environmental laws such as the Endangered Species Act.  The House will also consider the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2018 (H.R. 2810), which authorizes appropriations for defense and national security operations for the upcoming fiscal year.