Personal Medicare Stories Illustrate Need to Keep Medicare Cuts off the Chopping Block

September 12, 2013

September and October Potentially Menacing Months for Seniors

Washington, DC – Politicians in Washington are keeping Medicare cuts on the table in debt ceiling and budget deal negotiations. To combat these efforts to cut Medicare, the Alliance for Retired Americans gathered stories from retirees nationally who benefit from the program, but who still struggle to keep up with out-of-pocket costs. These stories help illustrate that now is not the time to cut Medicare or shift costs onto beneficiaries. Future generations will need Medicare, and there are ways to strengthen the program - such as negotiating the lowest rates for prescription drugs with big pharma - that would save billions of dollars and would not require shifting costs onto seniors.

For example, Michael Madamas of West Springfield, Massachusetts has high heath care costs that are eating away at his retirement income and making it difficult to make ends meet:

“My prescriptions take 1/5 of my income,” said Mr. Madamas. “Between my prescriptions and medical expenses, my life savings were wiped out in about five years. I now live check to check.”

Alice Metzger of Houston, TX describes living on the edge where any reduction in benefits would be challenging:

"Fortunately, I have not reached the peak of having to decide if I buy groceries or medicine. However, I have had to wait to order my prescriptions until I get my Social Security check because I am usually penniless by mid-month.”

As the upcoming debate on raising the debt ceiling and funding the government for Fiscal Year 2014 coincide with continued talks of cuts to the Medicare program, the Alliance would like to share more details of the financial hardships that many seniors face and how cuts to Medicare would affect them. Because half of all Medicare beneficiaries have incomes of $22,500 or less a year, any cuts to Medicare in the form of higher deductibles, co-pays, surcharges or further means-testing of benefits would be extremely harmful to millions of seniors, and would jeopardize their health and well-being.   

For additional stories, please visit: http://retiredamericans.org/issues/medicare-and-rx-drugs.

 

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Contact: Laura Markwardt – 202-637-5178 / lmarkwar@retiredamericans.org