A new lawsuit against HHS and the Social Security Administration challenges a rule requiring that retirees forfeit Social Security income if they withdraw from Medicare Part A.
The three men who have filed the lawsuit in U.S. District Court in Washington say theyre able to buy superior health insurance in the private market. Payroll taxes fund Medicare Part A, and retirees pay no premiums for it. The automatic enrollment in the program, the men argue, limits healthcare choices.
The lawsuit argues the policy is illegal because the statutes enacting the programs describe them as voluntary, and because the administrations of Presidents Clinton and George W. Bush neglected to follow appropriate rulemaking procedures in establishing and revising the policy. CMS spokesman Jeff Nelligan said in a written statement, The law is clear hereif an individual receives a Social Security check, that person must accept the Part A benefit.
The plaintiffs in the case are Brian Hall, a former employee of the Department of Housing and Urban Development; Lewis Randall, a private investor and board member of E*Trade; and Norman Rogers, founder and retired chief executive officer of Rabbit Semiconductor. Randall also serves on the board of the Cato Institute. A Cato spokesman said the libertarian-leaning think tank was not aware of the lawsuit. -- by Gregg Blesch