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North Carolina

North Carolinians Show Strong Support for Program Changes

You've Earned a Say respondents differ over timetable

Mike Dowling at the Washington Duke Inn in Durham, North Carolina.

Mike Dowling, of Asheville, says Social Security’s future isn’t as dire as some suggest. An AARP questionnaire solicited North Carolinians’ opinions about Social Security and 30,000 people responded. — Jeremy M. Lange

Keep Medicare Coverage

Four of five respondents said future Medicare beneficiaries should get the same guaranteed coverage as current beneficiaries, while one-fifth said they should get a set amount of money to use to purchase private insurance coverage.

The future, especially regarding Social Security, isn't as dire as some groups suggest, said Mike Dowling, 70, of Asheville, an AARP North Carolina executive council member.

"Various groups … have created the idea that neither [program] is working very well. That's just not true. If we rearrange the priorities of the country to health, education, welfare and safety, there's money to fund both," he said.

Roughly 1.8 million North Carolinians receive Social Security benefits; more than 1.5 million are enrolled in Medicare.

Bill Lamb, 64, of Raleigh, knows what a difference Medicare can make. Before the program existed, his grandparents became impoverished because they lacked insurance when his grandfather was being treated for esophageal cancer. They eventually moved in with Lamb's parents. Lamb spent his career with the state of North Carolina on issues of aging.

Given the number of people who lack health insurance, Lamb said that raising the Medicare eligibility age of eligibility for Medicare should be tied to health care reform.

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