Supporters of Medicare marked its 47th anniversary Monday, wondering how much longer it might be around.
About 50 people demonstrated in front of the Monroe County Office Building beginning at noon. Most were with one of three groups: Metro Justice, Band of Rebels or Raging Grannies, the latter two being senior citizens activist organizations.
George Dardess supports Medicare for everybody and said if it was paid for with a tax, it would reduce overhead costs from 20 to 30 percent to about 3 to 5 percent. He was with the Band of Rebels, a one-year-old group concerned that corporate greed is threatening their grandchildren’s futures.
“The Affordable Care Act is a good step, but it doesn’t go far enough,” Dardess said. “It still allows insurance companies to run the show and doesn’t take care of the rising costs of health care.”
Colin O’Malley, organizing director of Metro Justice, said the budget proposed by Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wisc., will effectively destroy Medicare, a government health insurance program for those 65 and older, and younger people with disabilities.
Some protestors were carrying signs asking “Where Does Maggie Stand?,” referring to Monroe County Executive Maggie Brooks who is running for Congress.
“She’s been avoiding answering that,” said Dardess, holding up one of the “Maggie” campaign signs.
O’Malley said if Brooks is going to be responsible for making decisions on Medicare, people need to know where she stands.
“If she’s running on a campaign of slash and burn the social safety net, we absolutely need to know that,” he said.
Noah Lebowitz, Brooks’ campaign manager, said Brooks has said she would not support the Ryan plan as proposed.
“She believes that we absolutely must protect Medicare for current and near retirees,” he said. “There’s only one candidate, Louise Slaughter, who voted to support Obamacare and its $500 billion in cuts to the Medicare program. Maggie has clearly stated she would not support any cuts to the program that would harm seniors.”
Neither Brooks, nor Lebowitz were at the demonstration.