Op-Ed | Protecting Medicare Advantage: Sen. Schumer’s vital support

US Sen. Chuck Schumer.
Photo By Dean Moses

As we navigate through complex and uncertain health issues, there are 33 million compelling reasons to safeguard Medicare Advantage. This program is a lifeline for American seniors and people with disabilities, offering affordable health care with more benefits and better health outcomes than traditional fee-for-service Medicare. For me and members of my congregation, Medicare Advantage is a true lifeline.

As a senior managing a tighter budget, the affordability of my health care is vital, especially given the rising costs of nearly everything these days. Thankfully, leaders like Senator Schumer have been a steadfast supporter of Medicare Advantage—a program that provides high-quality and affordable health care, allowing me to live an active life without financial worries.

Some years ago, I developed a herniated disk in my lower back. Though not life-threatening, this injury had a very negative effect on my quality of life. It was nearly impossible to stand and preach on Sunday mornings. Through conversations with my doctor, we determined that the best course of action would be to surgically insert two metal rods into my back. Without my Medicare Advantage plan, this procedure could have cost upwards of $500,000. Thanks to my plan, I paid a much lower price that I could afford.

One of the other standout features of my Medicare Advantage plan is the additional benefits it offers compared to fee-for-service Medicare. I particularly value the combined dental, vision, and hearing coverage, which allows me to access all my doctors and specialists under one plan. Dental health is especially important to me, and my annual cleanings are part of my coverage at no extra cost. This comprehensive coverage is not just convenient; it’s essential for maintaining my overall health and wellbeing.

Despite strong support for Medicare Advantage, the Medicare agency has moved forward with policy changes and proposed cuts to the program. These items could significantly impact the benefits and coverage that I, and millions like me, depend on every day. It’s deeply concerning to think that the stability and quality of our health care could be compromised. During this time, Senator Schumer stood up for New York seniors.

I’d like to say thank you to Senator Schumer for his persistent support of Medicare Advantage and senior health care. The Senator’s dedication is vital as we continue to advocate for the protection and enhancement of this essential program. While I am deeply concerned that my benefits could be at risk, I know that Senator Schumer is working to make Medicare Advantage a cornerstone of senior health care in America. I urge Senator Schumer to continue this fight and leading his colleagues to stand up for Medicare Advantage and seniors.

Rev. Neville is a well-known faith leader across New York City.