July 30, 2020

Retirees Mark Medicare’s 55th Anniversary with Virtual Events

Milestone Reached as Republican COVID-19 Relief Package Threatens Medicare’s Future

Washington, DC – Thursday marks the 55th anniversary of Medicare, and Alliance members across the country are celebrating with multiple virtual events to show their support for the health insurance program that has improved the lives of millions of retirees.

Before Medicare, only half of the nation’s seniors had health insurance. When uninsured seniors had serious health problems, they faced an impossible choice: risk financial ruin by seeking care or avoid treatment and watch their health deteriorate. Thanks to Medicare, 52.6 million Americans aged 65 and older now have guaranteed health coverage.

To celebrate the lifesaving program and to show support for its continued improvement, Alliance members are hosting virtual events in California, Florida, Illinois, Iowa, North Carolina, Texas, and Washington this week and in the coming days.

The Florida Alliance’s virtual event celebrates Medicare and Medicaid by presenting Hero Awards to Representatives Kathy Castor, Charlie Christ, Ted Deutch, Lois Frankel, Alcee Hastings, Al Lawson, Donna Shalala, and Debbie Wasserman-Schultz, highlighting the important work they do on behalf of retirees. In Texas, Alliance members are celebrating with a caravan around the Governor’s Mansion and State Capitol in Austin.

“Having access to health coverage through Medicare is vital, but we can and must do better for older Americans,” said Alliance Executive Director Richard Fiesta. “Allowing Medicare to negotiate prescription drug prices will strengthen the program, while saving the taxpayers billions and reducing costs for seniors. Even with Medicare, the average senior spends more than $5,000 per year on out of pocket medical costs.”

The anniversary comes as the $1 trillion Republican COVID-19 relief package includes the TRUST Act, a dangerous measure that would allow for fast-tracked cuts to earned Medicare and Social Security benefits behind closed doors. The legislation establishes congressional “rescue committees” to review the federal Social Security, Medicare, and Highway trust funds.

Further threatening Medicare on its 55th birthday is President Trump’s statement during a national Fox News town hall that he would propose cuts to government benefit programs like Social Security and Medicare if elected to a second term.

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 Contact: David Blank,  dblank@retiredamericans.org

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