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Senior Advocates Make Moves to Protect Medicare

AARP is trying to head off possible changes to Medicare. (medicare.gov)
AARP is trying to head off possible changes to Medicare. (medicare.gov)
January 31, 2017

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. – Despite campaign pledges made by now President Trump, there is concern that some in Congress may move to change Medicare to a voucher-based system. AARP is launching a campaign to protect the program.

Erik Gaikowski, the state director of AARP in South Dakota, says that would be difficult for a large number of senior citizens.

"There's definitely concern, especially in a state like South Dakota that relies so much upon Medicare," he said. "We've got nearly 147,000 beneficiaries here in South Dakota, and another 170,000 that will be coming in the next 15 years."

Gaikowski says the government could save money and cut costs by eliminating fraud and waste in the programs. He also says Medicare is important to protect health-care delivery in the state.

"It is incredibly important to our health-care costs in South Dakota as well," he added. "Obviously those costs continue to rise, if we don't have that stopgap of Medicare to take care of that, we're really going to have a big issue in South Dakota and nationwide."

Gaikowski says they want the president to live up to his campaign promises.

"He said along the campaign trail that we made this deal a long time ago and we're going to live up to it," said Gaikowski. "Now our campaign is focused on Congress and making sure they stick to the president's campaign pledges."

The average yearly income for senior citizens in the country is 25,000 dollars a year, with one out of every six dollars being spent on health care.

Jerry Oster, Public News Service - SD