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

Rep. Warns GOP Health Plan Will Hurt

U.S. Rep. Joe Crowley (D-Jackson Heights) warned his constituents last week that adoption of the GOP budget in Congress will make life harder for seniors in Queens.

Marking the 45th Anniversary of Medicare and Medicaid, Crowley unveiled a report on the impact of the GOP’s plan to end Medicare and Medicaid, "Breaking the Promise." It details how 89,630 seniors living in the 7th Congressional District, which spreads across both Queens and the Bronx, will be significantly affected by proposals included in the Republicans’ Fiscal Year 2012 budget.

"Republicans are trying to end healthcare as we know it," Crowley said of the Republican Party’s efforts to dismantle both Medicare and Medicaid and implement a voucher system which would increase the costs for seniors currently receiving assistance.

If passed into law, the budget would repeal the Affordable Care Act’s closing of the prescription drug coverage gap and eliminate new preventative care benefits.

Standing with seniors in solidarity on July 1, Crowley addressed their concerns and spoke of the importance of retaining the vital programs which have ensured a basic level of healthcare to many in the borough.

Theo Oshiro, director of health advocacy for Make the Road New York, an immigrant advocacy organization helping educate seniors about the issue, said the Republicans’ plan to dismantle Medicare and Medicaid would place the burden of healthcare costs on individuals who already have difficulty affording coverage.

"Future generations will stand to lose a lot," Oshiro said. "We’re hoping this doesn’t become a reality. There are better ways to do this not on the backs of our seniors."

Inocencia Nolasco, 70, has been on Medicare since she retired. Over the years, due to her limited income, she has come to rely heavily on the coverage she receives through the federal program.

"Medicare is important to me because it guarantees that I can see my doctor and stay healthy," Nolasco said. "The Republican plan worries me. I don’t know how I will be able to afford healthcare if this happens."

The budget proposal for FY 2012 passed the House of Representatives in April. The proposal has yet to be voted on by the Senate. In an effort to reach an agreement on the FY 2012 budget, Congressional Democratic leaders and officials of President Barack Obama’s administration are now considering several proposals which would cut tens of billions of dollars to both Medicare and Medicaid.

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