Medicare Celebrates 47 years Despite “Hostile Threat”
NEW YORK - Medicare turns 47 today, and supporters in New York say there is plenty to celebrate, despite what they see as efforts in Congress to end the program.
Sean Collins with Citizen Action New York says rallies are planned for a half-dozen locations across the state today to show support for Medicare. He says millions of New Yorkers rely on the program, and he says this birthday celebration is a time for action to protect Medicare, which he says is under threat as Congress debates House Budget Chair Paul Ryan's budget plan.
"For the New Yorkers and Americans across the country that rely on these programs it's frightening. It's another example of broken priorities, you know, on Capitol Hill."
Republican plans would convert Medicare into a voucher system, and take aim at another government health care system, Medicaid, cutting it by $810 billion over the next ten years.
The Obama administration's Affordable Care Act contains provisions aimed at curbing Medicare waste and fraud, and reducing overpayments to private insurance.
Natasha Perez, regional field director for the National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare, says the Affordable Care Act is helping to improve Medicare's reach so that it will eventually end the so called "doughnut hole" in prescription drug coverage. She says the law is already helping to plug the gap in New York.
"About 254,000 people with Medicare in New York have already received the $250 rebate to help cover prescription drug costs. They saved over $269 million on their prescription drugs."
In Albany tonight, supporters of Medicare plan to attend a town hall meeting with Congressman Paul Tonko to thank him for holding the line against cuts to Medicare and other social services. That meeting is to be at 6:30 p.m. at Hackett Middle School.
Source of state numbers: www.healthcare.gov.