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Red River Valley Debates Social Security and Medicare

PHOTO: Rob Romasco. COURTESY: AARP North Dakota
PHOTO: Rob Romasco. COURTESY: AARP North Dakota
September 12, 2012

FARGO, N.D. - Experts from across the nation are converging on the Red River Valley this weekend to talk with locals about the future of Social Security and Medicare.

National AARP President Rob Romasco will be among those speaking at a Saturday summit at the Fargo Air Museum.

"We have a very extensive program that will talk about why these programs are challenged - and, more importantly, how important they are - and get people's opinions on a variety of suggestions that are being made in Washington."

Romasco says the summit is part of the effort called "You've Earned a Say," urging everyone to give their views on how to keep the programs strong for generations to come.

"And get the people whose lives are impacted by Social Security and Medicare, who've paid into these programs for years, to have a say in how these programs will be dealt with over the next 10 or 20 years - about not only the programs for today, but especially for our children."

Romasco says the conversation really needs to happen in the open, because there are so many views and options.

"Anywhere from raising the age to increasing the wage cap to increasing the rate to adjusting benefits. Again, we're trying to get the facts out here. We want to try to cut through the demagoguery and the political advertising, and make sure these programs get full consideration."

Without any reforms, Romasco says, Medicare is only fully funded through 2024. Social Security can pay full benefits for about the next 20 years before reductions would have to be made.

More than 120,000 people in North Dakota receive Social Security benefits, and about 95,000 seniors count on Medicare.

To register for the event, call 877-926-8300. More information is online at

John Michaelson, Public News Service - ND