Advocate Suggests Expanding Medicare to Cover All Hurricane Refugees

Robert M. Hayes, president of the Medicare Rights Center, a national consumer service group, issued a statement calling on Congress and the President to allow Americans displaced by Hurricane Katrina access to Medicare. Hayes suggests creating Disaster Relief Medicare, which would make victims of Katrina immediately eligible for Medicare coverage, including prescription drug coverage.

Hayes fears that families staying with friends and relatives will not have access to affordable health care and that the emergency health care system set up for families in shelters is not adequate. According to Hayes, access to Medicare would allow "the tens of thousands of impoverished refugees to find the health care that they need today, and will need in the grueling months ahead."