The Investigators: Medicare scare - Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

The Investigators: Medicare scare

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MEMPHIS, TN -

(WMC TV) - We're grateful this particular mailer made it to Vickie Thompson's desk before it hit Mid-South seniors' mailboxes.

The 4-page mailer, riddled with fear-mongering and scare tactics, notifies Medicare recipients that their benefits have been "denied."

"This letter is to inform you that your doctor will no longer accept Medicare," the letter reads in bold type, attributed to the 'Emergency Committee to Save Medicare.'

Also in bold:  "We regret to tell you that your recent visit to your doctor will not be reimbursed."

"Your Medicare is not in any danger," said Thompson, the State Health Insurance Counseling & Assistance Program (SHIP) coordinator for the Aging Commission of the Mid-South.

Thompson said special interest groups are trying to scare seniors 65 and older -- as well as Medicare-qualified disabled citizens who have completed their 24-month waiting period -- into thinking they will lose their coverage as the country edges closer to the "fiscal cliff."

The truth is, Thompson said, Congress has made no decisions yet on Medicare's funding, and if they don't, current funding levels should remain the same, she said.

"There is no reason for anyone to be concerned about going to their doctor and Medicare not being there available for them," she said.

That brings us back to the mailer.

Read it further, and you realize it is a propaganda missive.

A non-profit advocacy group named the Policy Issues Institute -- "not affiliated with the federal government" -- produced the letter from its offices in Irvine, CA.

The last page requests $100 and your Medicare benefits extension form.

"Do that, and you'll just be out $100," Thompson said.

The letter also lists a web address. When you type it into your browser, it links you to ImpeachObamaCampaign.com.

See where we're going with this?

"This is someone who has their own personal agenda," said Thompson.

An automatic announcement told us the institute's voice mailbox is full and is not accepting messages.

Neither Thompson nor The Action News 5 Investigators have received complaints from citizens who have obtained the letter.

We're asking anyone who gets it to contact Andy Wise at awise@wmctv.com, then report the letter to Vickie Thompson at vthompson@agingcommission.org.

Citizens should also report the letter to the TennCare Office of the Inspector General, the Mississippi Attorney General's Office or the Arkansas Attorney General's Office.

Copyright 2012 WMC-TV. All rights reserved.

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