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July 1st, 2011
On 45th Anniversary of Medicare Passage Into Law, Grijalva Highlights Program’s Importance To Southern Arizona Families & Retirees

Tucson, Ariz.– On the 45th anniversary of passing Medicare into law, Rep. Raúl M. Grijalva today highlighted the importance of the program to Southern Arizona families and the impacts the House Republican majority’s budget plan would have on the region. Medicare now covers approximately 47 million Americans – nearly half of whom earn less than 200 percent of the federal poverty level – including 88,000 in the Seventh Congressional District.

Fifty-six percent of Medicare recipients are women, and more than 8 million recipients are disabled Americans under the age of 65. Grijalva said those populations, as much as every other Medicare recipient, “deserve our continued support in good times and bad, especially because the private insurance market is still often driven by the bottom line rather than the best health outcomes.”

Grijalva emphasized the potential damage the House Republican budget plan would do to Southern Arizona’s Medicare population. According to an analysis by the House Energy and Commerce Committee, the House Republican budget – the so-called “Ryan Roadmap” – would:

·         Deny 710,000 individuals age 54 and youngerin the Seventh Congressional District access to Medicare’s guaranteed benefits.

·         Increase the out-of-pocket costs of health coverage by over $6,000 per year in 2022and by almost $12,000 per year in 2032for the 110,000 individuals in the district who are between the ages of 44 and 54.

·         Require the 110,000 individuals in the district between the ages of 44 and 54 to save an additional $25.7 billionfor their retirement to pay for the increased cost of health coverage over their lifetimes. Younger residents of the district will have to save even higher amounts to cover their additional medical costs.

·         Raise the Medicare eligibility age by at least one year to age 66 or more for 63,000 individualsin the district who are age 44 to 49 and by two years to age 67 for 601,000 individualsin the district who are age 43 or younger.

The Affordable Care Act (ACA) began providing Medicare beneficiaries with free preventive care benefits starting Jan. 1. Under the Republican plan, they would no longer be entitled to free preventive care or benefit from the other cost-saving provisions in the ACA.

“Medicare is one of the most successful programs in the history of American government, and we need to strengthen it as soon as possible rather than cut it to pay for millionaire tax breaks,” Grijalva said. “There’s no doubt what the American people want – the only issue is whether Congress has the political will to follow through. Medicare has helped Southern Arizona since it was created, and I’m going to make sure it keeps helping Southern Arizona as long as I’m in Congress.”

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