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New Yorkers “Earned A Say” on Health & Retirement Issues

March 19, 2012

NEW YORK - New Yorkers of all ages are being invited to speak their mind on health and retirement security in a new AARP national conversation called "You've Earned a Say." If you're feeling left out of the debate over Social Security and Medicare, you are not alone. Joan Parrott-Fonseca, state director of AARP-New York, says the group's research shows 95 percent of Americans believe Washington needs to spend more time listening to ordinary folks.

For millions of New Yorkers, the future of Social Security is a major concern, she says.

"New York currently has about 3 million folks on Social Security, and 22.6 percent rely on Social Security for 90 percent or more of their income."

Likewise, Parrot-Fonseca says more than 98 percent of New York seniors are currently enrolled in Medicare.

AARP will be holding "You've Earned A Say" conversations in all 50 states, and the group plans to share ideas for strengthening these programs directly with members of Congress and the presidential contenders.

Many older New Yorkers have spent a lifetime paying in and are now concerned that the programs won't be around for their children, Parrot-Fonseca says. It is critical for the public to step up and be heard, she adds, especially when so much of the debate in Congress is happening outside of the public eye.

"Because there's just so much misinformation about where we are with Social Security and with Medicare, and so much of it is going on behind closed doors, this is an opportunity to bring those issues out in the public. We're even encouraging younger people, who really don't believe that these programs are going to be around by the time they need them."

The AARP "You've Earned a Say" listening tour will feature community conversations, neighborhood events and other forums at locations around the state this spring and summer. A questionnaire to complete and more information are available at www.earnedasay.org.

Mike Clifford, Public News Service - NY