Medicare benefits have been cut enough
One mark of a great society is how it treats its elders, veterans and those with disabilities. In 1935, President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed into law the New Deal, which encompassed Social Security. For generations, our country has felt a fiscal responsibility to ensure that seniors have a monthly retirement benefit to help with food and housing.
In addition, our abuelitos (grandparents) have a government-issued health insurance policy. Safety nets are in place for those whose lives are difficult and uncertain.
To be fair, seniors who receive Social Security and Medicare paid for these benefits during their working years. However, in many cases benefits are greater than what was deposited, but a promise made 76 years ago should not only be kept, but honored.
Congress repeatedly turns to Medicare in hopes of finding a cure for our country’s deficit. They refuse to blame 10-year wars and loosening of regulations, so Congress turns to our vulnerable population and asks them to give up some of what they purchased during their careers, service, sacrifice and some of what was promised to them throughout their lives.
As a state, we have had to cut reimbursements to Medicare-funded facilities, including nursing homes. Congress has reduced payments to these same homes and is now looking to take billions more away. Care facilities for our seniors and veterans simply can’t stay open under such immense financial pressure. Closing businesses means more highly-trained employees searching for nonexistent jobs and more seniors with limited health-care options.
There will be some seniors and veterans blessed enough to continue to receive care in our statewide facilities including Fort Bayard and Truth or Consequences, or to return home to their families. Other seniors who are not so fortunate will have nowhere to go for care.
Our budget is in need of balancing – that fact can’t be denied – but to do so at the expense of our grandparents is shameful. To turn to their benefits time after time is unfair. These homes provide a much-needed service to our elderly. Congress needs to find a different avenue for balancing the budget. Medicare benefits and reimbursements have been cut enough.
Morales, D-Silver City, represents District 28 in the New Mexico Senate.
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