MuskogeePhoenix.com, Muskogee, OK

August 29, 2010

Cut spending to help seniors


— A coast-to-coast petition tour highlighting the dangers of potential Medicare and Medicaid benefit cuts rolled through Muskogee last week.

The message was clear: Cuts hurt the elderly.

Rebecca Moore, executive director with the Oklahoma Association of Health Care Providers, said she sees Oklahoma heading for enormous problems.

The state cut Medicaid 3.2 percent in April.

More than 100 nursing facilities have closed in the last nine years, Moore said.

Rep. Dan Boren, D-Muskogee, said he recently voted for an amendment that provides education and Medicaid funding for the states.

Boren said it saved the Medicaid system in Oklahoma for “the time being.”

He also said Medicaid funding was saved without additional taxpayer expense — funding found through spending cuts.

That is the approach we hope Congress continues to take.

Save Medicare and Medicaid, and, do so without additional taxes.

The number of seniors in the United States is growing and many will rely on government help for their health care.

It is our obligation to keep this assistance flowing.

Seniors on fixed incomes face many changes they can’t control.

And many are faced with decisions such as medicine vs. food.

Our seniors paid the taxes that provide for this kind of assistance.

We must ensure they are allowed to access the benefits they helped support.

Congress must find ways to protect Medicaid and Medicare.