Program continues to serve as a lifeline to health care for millions of older Americans
WASHINGTON, July 30, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- AARP Executive Vice President Nancy LeaMond released this statement on Medicare's 47th birthday:
"Today, as we celebrate Medicare's 47th birthday, it's important to reflect on the critical role this program plays in providing access to health care for millions of seniors and those with disabilities.
"Nearly 50 million Americans—15 percent of the nation's population—depend on Medicare for their health security. And with increasing life expectancy and more baby boomers turning 65 every day, the number of people in Medicare is expected to double between the years 2000 and 2030.
"Medicare has served as a critical lifeline for health care coverage, and the program has recently been improved with an added drug benefit and cost-free preventive services. AARP worked tirelessly for the passage and implementation of the Affordable Care Act to secure key provisions that weeded out fraud and abuse, to extend the life of the Medicare Trust Fund, and to eliminate the Medicare drug 'doughnut hole', while dropping cost-sharing for needed preventive benefits. Seniors already saved almost $4 billion in prescription drug discount savings and, on average, every Medicare beneficiary is projected to save $4,200 in premium out-of-pocket savings from 2011 to 2021.
"But even with these improvements, Medicare is facing serious challenges, including increased enrollment, rising health care costs and tight budgets."
"Clearly, the focus in Washington should be on strengthening Medicare to ensure that it is financially sound and affordable for seniors today and tomorrow. All Americans should be able to count on the benefits they have been contributing to through a lifetime of work. But too often, conversations about any changes to Medicare happen behind closed doors in Washington, without considering what those changes might mean to American families.
"That's why AARP has launched You've Earned a Say, a national conversation about the future of Medicare and Social Security. Through You've Earned a Say, AARP is engaging Americans in the important discussion on how to keep Medicare and Social Security strong, both for today and tomorrow.
"Medicare is a promise—a promise of health security for all Americans. For years, AARP has fought to protect and strengthen Medicare, and through You've Earned a Say, we'll continue to make certain every American has an opportunity to have their voice heard. Because a promise of access to health care for millions of Americans is one that must be kept."
AARP is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization with a membership that helps people 50+ have independence, choice and control in ways that are beneficial and affordable to them and society as a whole. AARP does not endorse candidates for public office or make contributions to either political campaigns or candidates. We produce AARP The Magazine, the definitive voice for 50+ Americans and the world's largest-circulation magazine with over 35.1 million readers; AARP Bulletin, the go-to news source for AARP's millions of members and Americans 50+; AARP VIVA, our bilingual multimedia platform for Hispanic members; and our website, AARP.org. AARP Foundation is an affiliated charity that provides security, protection, and empowerment to older persons in need with support from thousands of volunteers, donors, and sponsors. We have staffed offices in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands.