Opinion

Protect Medicare to ensure the economic stability of our older residents

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To the Editor;
For over half a century, Americans have paid into the Medicare system with the expectation that they will have access to healthcare in retirement. For those 65-plus, Medicare provides more affordable health coverage where private insurance would cost seniors out of the market. It is of paramount importance for Mainers currently on Medicare, and for those who will need it in the future, that the program continues as promised.

In Maine, with long winters and high heating costs, the financial burden of medical care without Medicare coverage could not be afforded on a retiree’s fixed income. In 2015, Maine Medicare beneficiaries had a median personal income of $21,000, barely enough to cover life’s necessities such as food, utilities, transportation, housing and medicine.

In the upcoming election, the future of Medicare is on the line. The 300,000 Mainers on Medicare pay high enough out-of-pocket costs as it is. We need to protect Medicare to ensure the economic stability of our older residents in the years to come. Any additional medical financial strain would only jeopardize their independence. That’s why AARP Maine is working to ensure that you know where the candidates stand on this important issue. You can learn more and take our pledge to vote in November at www.aarp.org/vote.

July 30 marks 52 years since Medicare was signed into law. Before Medicare, older Americans struggled to find health coverage they could afford which left many individuals either uninsured or living in poverty. Let’s celebrate all of the good the program has done to further our health and financial security which we worked so hard to achieve.

Sammee Quong
AARP Maine Advisory Council volunteer
Augusta

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