For decades, Medicare has provided one of the most important tools for both extending the lives and improving the quality of life for millions of older and disabled Americans. Today, Medicare provides life-saving health coverage to 48 million Americans. Medicare is now a basic promise to every American citizen that their retirement will not be a nightmare of debt and inadequate health care.
Unfortunately, this anniversary finds Medicare in more danger than ever before in its history. Republicans in Congress have repeatedly voted for a budget plan that would privatize Medicare in only 10 years, replacing guaranteed benefits with a voucher designed to decrease in value over time. Under the Republican budget plan, America’s seniors and disabled citizens could pay thousands of dollars more per year for their health care. 1
Meanwhile, progressives are fighting to improve Medicare along with our entire health care system. The Affordable Care Act (“Obamacare”) contains numerous provisions to rein in the cost of care, root out fraud and waste, and improve efficiency—without cutting patient care. One of the most important Medicare reforms in Obamacare closes the so-called “donut hole” in prescription coverage for seniors. Obamacare provides for free checkups and preventive exams to catch costly medical problems sooner. And Obamacare’s increase in the number of insured Americans will make Medicare more sustainable, and reduce the cost of care for patients entering the Medicare system through earlier intervention.
In an election year loaded with misinformation and even outright deception about health care, one thing is certain: Medicare as we know it must be protected for future generations. Right-wing politicians who would privatize Medicare must be held accountable. And the gains we’ve made in health coverage for millions of Americans though Obamacare must not be given away.
On Medicare’s anniversary, sign our pledge to defend it for our children and grandchildren, and stop the right’s attempts to dismantle our most important institutions. We will share your names and comments with the media and elected officials.
Thank you. And happy anniversary!