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AARP: North Dakotans Have Earned a Say on Social Security and Medicare

March 19, 2012

BISMARCK, N.D. - A new effort begins today to make sure that Americans who have paid for years into Social Security and Medicare have a say in the future of these programs. AARP North Dakota volunteer Mike Tomasko says the initiative is called "You've Earned a Say."

"We have to remember, on Social Security especially, that we really paid for that. You see on your check that FICA amount that comes out. We paid for a portion of Medicare, too, even parts that might be subsidized. That's our money, also - we're all taxpayers."

AARP will hold listening sessions in various cities and towns across North Dakota to gather the public's input, Tomasko says.

"We're going out and saying to folks 'What do you think are the problems with Social Security and Medicare? What do you see as possible fixes?' We want to hear what they have to say, what all of us have to say regarding this important issue."

Tomasko says everyone should join the conversation, since no matter what their age, their health and retirement security are at stake. It makes sense that AARP is leading this effort, he adds, "because of their involvement in each state and their ability to get to the various grassroots people, without regard to political affiliation. That does not enter into our discussion. We want to hear from everybody, no matter their political persuasion."

In North Dakota, more than 120,000 people depend on Social Security benefits to help pay the bills every month, and about 95,000 seniors count on Medicare to help them afford health care.

AARP North Dakota has already set up seven listening sessions in some larger communities, and more are planned. Details are available online at aarp.org/nd.

A questionnaire to complete and more information are available at www.earnedasay.org.

John Michaelson, Public News Service - ND