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Medicare, Social Security threats are real

June 14, 2011
One of the hottest issues in Florida this summer is Medicare and its future.

Much has been said already, but oddly, some aspects of the proposals seem to have almost disappeared from the discussion.

For example, if you think the debate is only about a plan by House Budget Chairman Paul Ryan, R-WI – or if you think the debate only affects those 55 and younger – think again.

The truth is, Congress is debating suggestions for arbitrary budget limits by both Democrats and Republicans that could directly affect your access to your doctor and your hospital under Medicare as soon as next year. Some plans even would target Social Security. These plans would affect today’s Medicare beneficiaries as well as those 55 and younger.

If you’ve established a trusting relationship with your doctor, you may not want to believe you’d be affected. But your doctor may not have a choice.

Cuts to doctor and hospital reimbursements may mean your physician may simply not be financially able to treat you. If you’re ill, you need to be able to see your doctor – not be forced to scramble for alternatives because Washington can’t wring the waste out of federal spending.

But that’s not all. If Washington moves ahead with some versions of the political deal under discussion, you could even see your Social Security check shrink – again, because Congress can’t wring waste, fraud and abuse out of federal spending.

No one disputes that we’ve got to get rising federal debt under control. But some in Congress think this debate is about charts, graphs and fiscal projections. AARP knows it must also be about how these proposals would affect older people who’ve worked a lifetime to build this nation.

AARP believes Congress should start by cutting budget waste and closing tax loopholes before cutting benefits that today’s seniors have earned.

Raise your voice. Call 1-888-722-8514 toll-free to urge your U.S. Senator to protect Medicare and Social Security. Older Floridians earned their benefits. They deserve to be able to count on them.

Jeff Johnson is AARP Florida interim state director. – Ed.



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