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December 3, 2010
For Immediate Release
Contact: Judith Stein, (860) 456-7790
jstein@medicareadvocacy.orgVicki Gottlich, (202) 293-5760
vgottlich@medicareadvocacy.org

This week’s report by the National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform offers recommendations that will pull the Medicare safety net from under older and disabled people most in need of security. The Commission’s proposals to reduce the Medicare benefit will pass additional health care costs on to vulnerable people who are already paying too much of their income for health care.

We forget: Before Medicare, half of all older people had no health insurance. In 1965, 25% of everyone 65 or older lived in poverty. Medicare created a health care and financial security net for older people and their families; they no longer had to worry about paying for catastrophic medical costs. Because of Medicare, virtually all Americans age 65 or older, and many people with disabilities, are insured.

The Commission’s recommendations are misguided. They recommend cuts and reductions to programs like Medicare that benefit people most at risk, while safe-guarding tax havens for the rich. It is unfair and unreasonable to further imperil our most fragile citizens in the midst of the worst economic times since the Depression.

The Center for Medicare Advocacy urges policy-makers to go back to the drawing board. “To truly reduce Medicare costs,” says executive director Judith Stein, “don’t waste one more Medicare dollar on private plans. Spread the pain to reduce the deficit fairly and courageously.”

Both Ms. Stein and Ms. Gottlich are available for comment.

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