On Jan. 18, the Health and Human Services Committee cast their vote to reduce or even eliminate the state’s Medicare Savings Program or MSP. AARP Maine responded by announcing profound disappointment, calling the vote the “worst of the worst” because it targets vital funds specifically designed to help the state’s most vulnerable citizens: low-income seniors and disabled adults.
See Also: Help AARP Maine Protect the Medicare Savings Program
On a slightly positive note the vote did show some bi-partisan support for the program.
John Hennessy, AARP Maine Advocacy Director stated “The proposed state budget hurts those who least can afford any change in their financial situation. Seniors in Maine are already struggling with basic expenses including mounting heating costs, food and health care. In fact, a recent AARP survey shows that 36% of all adult Mainers are experiencing difficulty paying for even basic necessities.”
The MSP covers Part B premiums for Medicare which pays for all doctor visits, preventive care, screenings and outpatient care and costs the state about $100 per month per person.
For seniors living on less than $1,200 a month, it would be all but impossible for them to pay for this coverage. For eligible MSP beneficiaries, the Federal government also covers Part D premiums thereby providing access to low-cost prescription drugs. Eliminating the MSP will result in the loss of all such Federal dollars.
The State has been vocal about protecting programs for its neediest citizens, but cutting the MSP does not support that mission. From the position of AARP, very low-income seniors and disabled adults cannot afford to pay more and will suffer if the state budget passes as proposed. They will cut back on prescriptions and endanger their health.
Call to action: If you believe the Medicare Savings Program should be protected, please contact your legislator today and urge them to support it.