The governor’s budget calls for major cuts to the Medicare Savings Program and eliminates the Low Cost Drugs for the Elderly program.

By proposing these drastic measures, Maine is turning to the state’s oldest and poorest citizens and demanding they come up with a way to fix Maine’s budget woes by cutting back or eliminating their health care, their life-saving medications and, for many, their ability to stay in their own homes.

The low-cost drug program provides discounts on generic drugs for all enrollees and on brand name drugs for people with certain serious health conditions such as diabetes, heart disease and multiple sclerosis. It also makes certain drugs more affordable for low-income Medicare beneficiaries.

The Medicare Savings Program helps to pay for Part B premiums for Medicare, which covers many important services including doctor visits, preventive care, ambulance services, skilled nursing care, outpatient care and medically necessary supplies such as wheel chairs and walkers.

Is discontinuing these essential programs really the answer to our state’s budget problems?

These two programs must be maintained. Those affected by these budget cuts are our friends and neighbors. For many of them, cutting back on their health care and their prescription drugs could endanger their lives.

I am 90 years old, and I find this unacceptable. Older and at-risk Mainers need to know now that their benefits won’t be taken away. I hope our legislators do the right thing and restore funding to these two programs immediately.

Jane Magnus

AARP Communications Volunteer

Windham