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Know Your Rights
Source: Queens Gazette
Subject: Health Justice & Access
Type: Media Coverage

Crowley Leads Seniors In Rally To Save Medicare

Marking the 45th anniversary of the nation’s Medicare program last Thursday, Congressmember Joseph Crowley was joined by seniors at a Jackson Heights rally “to save Medicare from Republican attempts to end the program as we know it”.

During the rally, in which the Make the Road New York organization participated, Crowley unveiled his new comprehensive report entitled, Breaking The Promise, which highlights in frightening detail how the Republican plan to turn Medicare into a voucher program and also slash Medicaid would have severe consequences for seniors in the lawmaker’s 7th Congressional District (CD) covering parts of Queens and The Bronx.

At the rally, Crowley declared, “As we celebrate the 45th anniversary of Medicare, we are reminded of the promise made to our nation’s seniors—that is, the promise of health care and security. For the over 80,000 Queens and Bronx seniors in New York’s 7th [Congressional] District, this promise could not be more crucial.

“Yet, at a time when we should be focused on strengthening Medicare, Republicans are trying to undermine it.”

Raising his voice, Crowley said with emotion, “This is not a game—Republicans are talking about cutting support for our parents and grandparents who have nowhere else to turn if the promise of Medicare is broken. My report highlights just how high the stakes are for 7th District seniors and the future of our community. I am glad to have a partner in the fight for our community’s seniors in Make the Road New York. We must do all we can to uphold the promise of Medicare for today’s seniors as well as for future generations.”

Ana Maria Archila, co-executive director of Make the Road New York, which is based in Jackson Heights, also addressed the rally. She stated:

“Attempts to voucherize Medicare and put the program into private hands will only increase the burden on our nation’s seniors. Our country needs to continue on the path set by health reform and treat health care as a right, not a privilege that only the wealthy can afford. We look forward to working with Congressmember Joseph Crowley and other leaders to fight efforts to weaken Medicare and support efforts that keep us on course towards quality, affordable health care for generations to come

Crowley is a member of the powerful House Ways and Means Committee, which is responsible for all tax, trade and Social Security issues, as well as health and retirement security. He said that the end Medicare bill passed by the Republicans would create a voucher program, increasing seniors’ costs and reducing benefits for all seniors. Out-of-pocket healthcare costs would skyrocket over time to double or even triple, he estimated.

According to Crowley’s Breaking The Promise, here is how the seniors in his district would be affected by the Republican legislation, which is now being considered by the Senate:

Medicare ceases to act as a guarantee and those who exceed voucher limits will have increased out-of-pocket costs “for incredibly expensive, and in many cases, unaffordable services”.

The 88,000 seniors with disabilities currently covered by Medicare will no longer be entitled to free preventive care.

The “gap” will be back for 6,400 Medicare beneficiaries, increasing out-of pocket expenses.

Reduced nursing home staffing will affect the care of some 3,100 nursing home residents in the district.

466,000 individuals 49 years of age or younger, and 403,000 aged 43 or under will face delays in getting on Medicare, driving up prices for others with health insurance.

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