Advocacy groups plead for end to two-year wait for Medicare coverage for disabled

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Healthcare and disability advocacy groups have launched a campaign to end the two-year waiting period the disabled must endure before qualifying for Medicare.

More than 75 such groups, including the Alzheimer's Association and the Medicare Rights Center, have joined forces to end the waiting period, according to the Associated Press. Roughly 1.5 million people find themselves suspended in the two-year gap at any given point, oftentimes relying on Medicaid or personal savings to pay for healthcare costs, AP reports. Eliminating the gap would save an estimated $4 billion for Medicaid, though it would cost roughly $9 billion to Medicare, the report said.  

In the healthcare plan released Wednesday, Montana Sen. Max Baucus (D-MT) said he favored eliminating the two-year waiting period for disabled individuals. Two other legislators, Rep. Gene Green (D-TX) and Sen. Jeff Bingham (D-NM) have introduced legislation that would eliminate the waiting period over the course of 10 years.