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HHS Regional Director to Discuss Medicare with AARP Members

Thousands of AARP members in Montana will have the opportunity to participate in a “telephone town hall" meeting with U.S. Department of Health and Human services Regional Director Marguerite Salazar about the future of Medicare.

See also: How would you strengthen Social Security and Medicare?

AARP Montana will host the statewide tele-town hall meeting which will take place on March 23 at 10:30 am Mountain Time and will allow thousands of AARP members to join Salazar to hear about the current financial picture and proposals under consideration in Congress that would affect the future of Medicare. AARP Members will also have the opportunity to pose their questions.

Before Medicare was signed into law in 1965, about half of all seniors lacked hospital insurance. Today, virtually all people ages 65 and over are covered by Medicare. Medicare is a vital program that faces a number of issues and challenges in the years to come. A critical challenge is how to finance care for future generations without unduly burdening beneficiaries, taxpayers, or the general economy.

Medicare serves more than 47 million Americans and is very popular. At the same time, the ballooning costs projected for Medicare threaten the popular program. In addition, about 10,000 baby boomers become eligible for Medicare every single day. As the number of new Medicare beneficiaries rises sharply, there will be significantly fewer workers per retiree to fund Medicare.

Medicare plays a central role in broader discussions about the future of entitlement programs. Together, Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security account for more than 40 percent of the federal budget.

“Given ongoing concerns about the state of the economy, the future of Medicare is of profound importance to the retirement security of current and future retirees,” said Joy Bruck, AARP Montana State President. “Over the years, both political parties have been hesitant to discuss looming problems, but it is time to have an honest dialogue about the future of this very important program.”

AARP will call its members in Montana to invite them to participate in the meeting. Members interested in participating will only need to hold on the line to be placed into the live event with Salazar. After brief introductions and statements, participants will have the opportunity to ask their questions. AARP has approximately 150,000 members in Montana. All current AARP members with home phone numbers will be called to participate in the meeting.

“The tele-town hall format has many advantages, not the least of which is the convenience for the participants who don't have to leave home or carve time out of their schedule to head down to a traditional meeting,” said Bruck. “There’s no worrying about driving time, the weather or other conflicts -- members can just pick up the phone at home and instantly join the meeting.”

“We think this Tele Town Hall is a great opportunity to listen to our members,” said AARP Montana State Director Bob Bartholomew. “We can find out what thousands of our members are thinking by using the polling feature. In addition, we encourage members to express their thoughts on the future of Medicare with Ms. Salazar, who has access to the President and other leaders who will determine the future of the program.”

“We are looking forward to having a community conversation with AARP members across the state and we are pleased to offer this opportunity for AARP members to hear directly from Regional Director Salazar on this very important issue,” said Bruck.

Quick Glance Event Details

What: Tele Town Hall Meeting about the future of Medicare

Who: Health and Human services Regional Director Marguerite Salazar and AARP Members across Montana

When: Thursday, March 23, 2012, 10:30 – 11:30am, Mountain Time
How to register: AARP Members are automatically registered

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