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Medicare Dollars Give NH Economy Big Boost

Medicare dollars flow to communities as salaries, rent, taxes and capital investments. (AARP)
Medicare dollars flow to communities as salaries, rent, taxes and capital investments. (AARP)
August 6, 2018

CONCORD, N.H. – Medicare contributes almost $3 billion a year to New Hampshire's economy, according to a new report by AARP.

The seniors advocacy group’s "State Fact Sheet" says Medicare dollars coming into the Granite State are equivalent to 22 percent of all state and local government spending.

The national medical insurance program is funded by payroll taxes and is primarily used by people over 65 or those with disabilities. Keeping the program healthy is a top concern of older Americans.

But according to Todd Fahey, state director of AARP New Hampshire, Medicare's future is in jeopardy.

"If Congress doesn't act, Medicare won't be able to pay full hospital benefits in eight years,” he points out. “That's a big deal for the 260,000 people in New Hampshire who rely upon it."

Fahey says political candidates need to talk with their constituents about how they would ensure that Medicare remains sound for future generations.

Fahey points out that any cuts to Medicare would have immediate impacts on doctors, hospitals and the patients they care for. But the effects would reach far beyond those who receive funds directly.

"People who are paid salaries and overhead, and all the incidental benefits that accrue to a community,” he explains. “And in New Hampshire, most of our communities are anchored by hospitals."

Fahey adds those dollars go to pay state and local taxes, buy equipment, pay rent and make improvements to facilities, all boosting local economies.

And he notes there are about a half-million people over age 50 in New Hampshire and more than 300,000 of them reliably vote, making Medicare an issue that candidates for political office need to address.

"What we want to do is make sure they understand that Medicare is a big deal for the State of New Hampshire generally, but on the micro approach, those people who rely upon its guaranteed benefits need to rely upon its future solvency," Fahey stresses.

More information is online at aarp.org/vote.

Andrea Sears, Public News Service - NH