Over the next several weeks, you will hear the Republicans say things that will make it sound certain that the Medicare system will become bankrupt if President Obama is reelected. You will hear Democrats say things that will make it sound like the Republicans will cut Medicare for senior citizens if the Romney-Ryan ticket wins. The campaign spokespersons from both parties will speak in sound-bites for the media and will exaggerate the truth with behavior as melodramatic as professional wrestling. I wish it were a criminal act for a campaign spokesperson or elected official to knowingly distort the truth during a television interview, especially when senior citizens are scared needlessly into worrying about losing benefits and becoming more vulnerable.
The truth is that if you are 55 years old today, you don’t need to worry about losing your benefits, and that’s probably true for most persons who are 50 or older. If you are a 65 year old female, you have a life expectancy of 20 years; and it’s a couple of years less for us guys. Most experts agree that if the federal government does nothing, the system will survive at least another 15 years. The leading Republican thinker on reform, who is Congressman Paul Ryan and is now a VP candidate, does not propose any changes for those 55 or older. So the issue of paying for Medicare and other programs needed by senior citizens who are our clients does not actually affect most of our clients, even if it does affect their children and grandchildren. I wish the politicians on both sides would do a better job of making sure that our senior citizens understand that.
Keystone Elder Law stays out of political issues. I’m sure that our staff and probably Keystone’s clients and friends will divide their votes between the two candidates. That’s OK with me, since our country thrives on a two party system, especially when people exercise their right to vote. So whatever your opinion is on how to fix Medicare, get out and vote for the candidate who you think is right. Just don’t stoop so low as to try to use a Medicare-scare with anyone older than you so they agree to support your candidate!