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Thousands Involved in Medicare, Social Security Debate

Thousands of Michiganders have joined the critical national debate on the future of Medicare and Social Security.

AARP Michigan reports staff and volunteers held 38 You've Earned a Say listening events through August, which were attended by more than 1,700 people. These range from small living room coffee-and-chat sessions attended by a few people to major forums at conference centers that drew more than 100.

Another 13,640 people took part in a pair of Teletown Halls on Social Security and Medicare issues and many more stopped by AARP booths at four fairs and festivals.

Also, nearly 25,000 Michiganders completed and returned You’ve Earned a Say questionnaires.

The sessions have touched Michiganders from Detroit, Taylor and Pontiac to Marquette, Escanaba and Traverse City. Events also have been held in Grand Rapids, Lansing, Jackson, Muskegon, Kalamazoo, Adrian, Southfield, Menominee and many other stops across Michigan.

“Looking at all of this activity in the aggregate, it is clear that our office and volunteers have been doing a tremendous, awe-inspiring amount of work on this effort,” said Lisa Dedden Cooper, AARP Michigan Advocacy Manger, who is heading up the You’ve Earned a Say effort in the state.

The idea behind You’ve Earned a Say is to take the debate about Medicare and Social Security out from behind closed doors in Washington and make sure affected citizens have a voice about what happens to these vital health and retirement security programs.

“We’ve consistently said Medicare and Social Security face long-term financial challenges that need to be addressed, including: the aging of the population, longer life expectancies and rising health care costs,” said Jacqueline Morrison, State Director of AARP Michigan.

“That’s why it is so critical that we have this national conversation so Americans can have a say in any debate about the future of these programs.”

The importance of Social Security and Medicare to Michigan citizens and to the state’s recovering economy is abundantly clear.

Nearly 2 million Michigan residents draw Social Security benefits totaling over $2.2 billion a month. Almost one quarter rely on Social Security for 90 percent of their income and 56 percent depend on Social Security for half of their income.

Also, there are 1.7 million Medicare beneficiaries in Michigan who receive more than $16 billion in health care services each year.

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