Calls in Congress to change Medicare into some kind of voucher system should alarm anyone who is concerned about people’s ability to pay for health care. If this proposal goes through, more than 288,000 Medicare enrollees in Maine face the prospect of rising health care bills as traditional guarantees of Medicare wither. The 315,000 workers between the ages of 50-64 who are currently paying into the system, and who are counting on Medicare in the future, would also be affected.

Vouchers would dramatically increase out-of-pocket costs for current and future retirees at a time when they can least afford it. They would force growing numbers to choose between paying for health care and other necessities. That is fundamentally unfair to those who have paid into the program their entire working lives. Getting sick is risky enough without weakening the promise of Medicare.

On the campaign trail, President Donald Trump pledged to protect Medicare from changes like this. We are counting on Congress to stand by President Trump’s promise and to oppose voucher proposals.

Now we need Congress to support this position and oppose a voucher system. If you are concerned about protecting Medicare, please contact the local offices of the congressional delegation. You can also sign AARP’s petition to Congress by going to www.aarp.org/protectmedicare.

Congress should find other ways to target rising health care costs, such as by lowering drug costs, and commit to protecting Medicare.

Arthur Jacobson

Winthrop

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