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Preserve Medicare - Best Gift to America's Grandmothers


Location: Washington, DC

Today, Congressman Jesse L. Jackson, Jr. (D-IL-2) said that on this Mother's Day he's re-committing himself to the effort to preserve Medicare. "I and my Democratic colleagues will fight to protect and strengthen Medicare, which is critical to America's moms and grandmothers," Rep. Jackson said.

"Medicare is of vital importance to American women, including the 1,038,500 women in Illinois enrolled in Medicare," Rep. Jackson said. "Older women, on average, live longer than men, have lower incomes than men, and have more chronic health conditions than men -- making Medicare even more vital to their wellbeing."

The Republican plan to end Medicare as we know it would have a particularly damaging effect on America's women:

Women represent 56 percent of the Medicare population.

Among the oldest Medicare beneficiaries (ages 85 and older), 70 percent are women.

49 percent of women on Medicare have three or more chronic health conditions, compared to 38 percent of men.

Similarly, women have higher rates than men of many chronic conditions, including arthritis, hypertension and osteoporosis.

16 percent of Medicare beneficiaries reach the prescription drug "donut hole' coverage gap each year. Women, in addition to people with diabetes and Alzheimer's disease, are the most likely to end up in the "donut hole.'

57 percent of women on Medicare live below 200% of the federal poverty level, compared to 45 percent of men.

"Under the Republican plan to end Medicare as we know it, recently adopted by the House, instead of receiving guaranteed coverage of Medicare benefits, seniors would receive a voucher to purchase insurance, for all those below age 55," Rep. Jackson said. "Under their plan, the voucher would not grow as fast as health care costs, shifting costs onto seniors. Their plan would be disastrous for America's seniors and we will fight to ensure it is blocked and instead Medicare is preserved and strengthened."

As the nonpartisan AARP has pointed out about this Republican plan, "The proposal is likely to simply increase costs for beneficiaries while removing Medicare's promise of secure health coverage -- a guarantee that future seniors have contributed to through a lifetime of hard work."

In conclusion Jackson said, "This Republican plan would also immediately raise costs for seniors. It would repeal the free preventive services benefit in Medicare, increasing seniors' out-of-pocket costs for preventive care by over $110 million in 2012 alone. It would also re-open the Medicare prescription drug "donut hole,' increasing the drug costs of seniors in the donut hole by up to $44 billion through 2020."

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