FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
RetireSafe calls on seniors to grab their bullhorns to save Medicare in health reform
Washington, D.C. November 23, 2009 . . . While the Senate Democrats moved forward on their health care bill this weekend, RetireSafe has called on seniors to grab their bullhorns to protest cuts in Medicare. Says RetireSafe President Thair Phillips, "While the legislators are shifting the focus to issues like abortion and immigration to gain votes, the simple, uncomplicated fact is... this bill cuts Medicare by 500 billion dollars. If seniors fail to grab their bullhorns, then we may be looking at the rationing of care to the people who paid into the program their whole life and count on its benefits."
RetireSafe is a 400,000 strong supporter-based advocacy and educational organization pledged to protect the rights, benefits and security of older Americans.
Phillips stated that rationing is a real and not unintended consequence of the proposed legislation. Phillips is concerned about the future well-being of seniors if Congress doesn't rethink this huge cut to Medicare. He said, "There are ways to reform health care, cutting a program that is already strapped for funds is not the answer. We think there is fraud and inefficiencies in Medicare, let's find and eliminate them and use the money to shore up this life saving benefit that older Americans have paid into their whole lives."
"The Government has been running Medicare for 44 years and suddenly they say that there is 500 billion dollars of waste and inefficiencies," Phillips continued, "if that happened in the private sector we would fire the whole bunch of them." "Even worse," Phillips pointed out, "they want to take that money and, rather than shore up Medicare, use it in another government run program, and they want us to believe them when they say they can run this one correctly." He pointed out that if this bill is passed Congress will need the 500 billion to finance it and they will do whatever it takes to extract that money from Medicare, including the rationing of care.
Phillips cited a recent example of how this rationing would work. Said Phillips, "Last week, a task force from HHS recommended that women under 50 are probably better off not getting routine annual mammograms. This is the same task force that is given the power in the House bill to have the final say on what programs and procedures get cut. HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius immediately disavowed the recommendation. I think the task force recommendation came at a politically inconvenient time for the administration and they immediately tried to back pedal. They inadvertently showed their cards before the health care reform bill with the mandates and public option was passed into law. But we believe this is exactly the kind of rationing we should expect."
Phillips continued, "Unlike those pushing the bill, RetireSafe does not believe the government can find 500 billion dollars in Medicare without any rationing of care or services. Common sense and past experience makes that starkly clear."
RetireSafe is urging seniors across American to pick up the phone and call, write or fax their U.S. Senator or Representative and tell them not to cut Medicare. He said, "Tell them you are watching how they vote and remind them that you have a vote also. The only way Congress is going to be moved is by hearing en masse from its largest and most threatened interest group, senior Americans. Seniors, get out your bullhorns and let the shouting begin!"