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Politics & Government

CNYers Mark 50 Years of Medicare, Tell Congressional Delegation "Hands Off!"

Scott Willis

  About two dozen Central New Yorkers marched through downtown Syracuse Thursday to mark a milestone for older americans.  Members of the Alliance of Retired Americans and AARP joined in singing happy birthday to Medicare signed 50 years ago by President Lyndon Johnson.  Mike from Clay was also on hand.  He’s President of Syracuse Chapter 200 of the National Active Retired Federal Employees, and knows the importance of the program.

"Our parents, our grandparents, they all live longer because of Medicare, because they get the proper care they need.  If they didn't have it today, based on what the health insurance industry does or doesn't cover today, they wouldn't be with us today.  So, it's because of Medicare why we still  spend quality time with them."

Credit Scott Willis / WAER News
Syracuse AARP Legislative Advocate Bob O'Connor, second from left, waits with others for the march to begin.

  But Medicare and Social Security, which turns 80 in two weeks, have been targets of cuts by Congress for years.  Syracuse/Onondaga County AARP Chapter Legislative Advocate Robert O'Connor says Medicare isn’t going away…despite one recent attempt in Congress.

Mike says lawmakers should look at ways the programs can be better managed, not borrowed against.  

O'Connor with the AARP says Social Security is not going broke.

"It's 100% fully funded, as the new trustees report came out saying until at least 2034.  That's a year more than they said last year.  After that, it will still pay benefits, because you know what, people are still working, and as they work, they have to pay into Social Security.  Medicare is similar."

O'Connor says removing the income cap for those paying into social security would all but ensure its solvency.   That cap is currently $118,500.