Here’s special alert from Jess Maurer, Executive Director of the Maine Association of Area Agencies on Aging, who gave a great presentation to us last Wednesday on issues facing Maine seniors.  Here’s a follow up alert: please read it, then take action!

Tens of thousands of older adults need you to take action now!  There is a public hearing on the Governor’s proposal to significantly cut existing drug and health care benefits to nearly 40,000 very low income Maine seniors this Wednesday, March 4th at 1:00 at the Appropriations Committee, State House, Augusta, METhere are several ways you can help defeat these cuts.

The Governor proposes reducing funding for the Medicare Savings Program (MSP) and the Drugs for the Elderly (DEL) program, thus eliminating all benefits for 14,000 people currently receiving them  and significantly reducing the benefit for 21,000 more.  Nearly 2,000 will lose all benefits under the DEL program.

Cutting MSP and DEL will be disastrous for thousands of Maine seniors and our economy.

More than a quarter of Maine seniors live on only Social Security, with an average income of under $14,000.  Yet, any older adult who receives MSP or DEL who earns more than $12,700 will lose money out of their pockets and anyone earning more than $16,800 will lose all benefits entirely.  Older adults who lose these benefits will now have to pay between $2,400 and $5,000 out of pocket for needed health care and medications.

Low income older adults are already struggling to pay for food, oil, housing and property taxes.  Far too many already live too close to the bone and simply cannot afford these cuts.  They will stop taking life-saving medications and experience serious health problems, shifting costs to local communities, health care providers and our long-term care system.  These cuts will also take money millions of dollars out of our economy.

There are MANY ways for you to help us defeat these cuts.

If you or someone you love will be impacted by these cuts, please come tell your story on Wednesday.  We’ve already heard from people who will lose their homes or who cannot afford their medication.  There’s nothing more compelling to a legislator than hearing directly from those affected.  We’re also looking for health care professionals who will come to oppose these cuts.  You can submit testimony in writing too!  Email me right away if you can come or submit written testimony – I’ll help you prepare.

Tell us your story.  If you will be impacted by these cuts but can’t testify at the hearing, you can still let your voice be heard.

If you oppose these cuts, call YOUR legislator AND call at least ONE MEMBER of the Appropriations Committee (contact info attached)

Sign AARP’s Petition in Opposition to the Cuts which automatically sends an email to the Governor and your legislators (do this in ADDITION to making calls!)

Forward this message to your friends and colleagues and get them to do the same!

Send a letter to the editor of your local paper – tell the Governor that we’ve had enough cuts on the backs of Maine seniors and that it’s time to invest in building the kind of state we need that helps older adults thrive at home!

These cuts are taking Maine in the wrong direction.  This year, we need to make big investments in transportation, housing and community-based care to help older adults age in place.  We can’t afford cuts that hurt the health of seniors at a time when the rest of our infrastructure is failing.  Please take action now!

Thanks!

Jessica L. Maurer, Esq. Executive Director

Maine Association of Area Agencies on Aging

207-592-9972

jmaurer@maine4a.org

www.maine4a.org

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