As discussions about the state budget continue, I hope the administration is not considering cuts to the Medicare Savings Program.

The Medicare Savings Program is a lifeline for more than 70,000 older Mainers. In these tough economic times, any cut of any size would be devastating for those who rely upon the services of the program.

Imagine being an older Mainer on a low, fixed income. Imagine being an adult with a disability. What would you do if all your medical care and prescription drug coverage came to an end?

One cannot underestimate the importance of the Medicare Savings Program. It covers Medicare Part B premiums, which pay for all doctor visits, preventive care, screenings and outpatient care and costs.

Several years ago, legislators from both sides of the aisle approved the Medicare Savings Program for those on low, fixed incomes who were older than 65 and on Medicare or disabled.

It was wonderful that the Legislature decided that, in the long run, the Medicare Savings Program was better for our seniors and that it was more cost-effective to pay for them to be part of this important program.

It is worth noting that for all eligible beneficiaries, the federal government pays the Medicare Part D prescription drug premiums so they have access to low-cost prescription drugs. Cutting the program in Maine would cause that benefit to cease as well.

Will 72,000 Maine people lose access to their doctors and their prescription drugs? It would be foolish and short-sighted to let that happen.

Barbara Bright


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