by Mary Savage
Act Now to say “No!” to the federal Ryan Budget. Tell your elected officials, “No cuts to Medicare! No vouchers!”
It’s no exaggeration to say that this is of an urgent matter.
While celebrations took place across the USA on July 30 to celebrate the 49th anniversary of Medicare, some politicians and special interest groups are trying to dismantle the federal program the keeps seniors and their families free from a life of poverty due to healthcare costs. The federal “Paul Ryan budget” calls for dismantling Medicare from its current form – which still doesn’t pay all of the healthcare needs of seniors – to a draconian voucher-coupon system.
Essentially, seniors would receive a $5,000 voucher each year to purchase health insurance on their own, privatizing the program and eventually separating the sickest from the healthiest and causing costs to shift more and more to seniors and their families. (Check to see if your representative voted for the budget. If so, your representative voted to end Medicare and cause healthcare costs to increase for seniors and their families.)
The Ryan Budget is named after its crafter, Wisconsin representative Paul Ryan, who ironically benefitted from the federal Social Security system up until age 18 after his father died and Ryan became eligible for Social Security survivor’s benefits.
Today, in addition to privatizing Medicare, the representative’s budget also calls for increasing the retirement age to 70, forcing seniors to work more years and having less time to spend in retirement. (Ask a waitress or a construction worker if they’d like to work until they’re 70 with worn out shoulders, wrists, knees and ankles.)
The Ryan Budget also calls for the repeal of the Affordable Care Act that would do away with improvements already in place for Medicare beneficiaries, such as the closing of Medicare Part D coverage gap, known as the “donut hole” and eliminating annual wellness exams. The budget also calls for raising Medicare’s eligibility age and destroys the current Medicaid program by slashing benefits for low-income individuals.
You may be asking, “What can I do?”
One answer is to call the National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare’s congressional hotline, 800-998-0180, listen to the recorded message that’s updated to reflect the current issue, follow the prompts to be connected with your representative or senator’s office. Tell them, “No cuts to Medicare” and “No vouchers. No coupons.”
You can also send a letter via the National Committee’s Web site www.ncpssm.org/MedicareAnniversary. When you’re at the Web site, consider becoming part of the National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare, which in Florida alone has more than 125,000 members and supporters, and many more throughout the nation.
You can also use information from the Web site to send a letter to your local newspaper to voice your opinion as a responsible citizen who cares about things that matter to you and your community. Let’s all work together to keep Social Security and Medicare strong and funded for today’s seniors — and for tomorrow’s seniors, as well. D