Congressman Crowley, Make the Road and Queens and Bronx Seniors Rally to Save Medicare

June 30, 2011
Press Release

Queens, N.Y. —To mark the 45th anniversary of Medicare, Congressman Joe Crowley (D-Queens, the Bronx), Make the Road New York and seniors from the 7th Congressional District gathered today for a rally to save Medicare from Republican attempts to end the program as we know it. During the rally, Congressman Crowley unveiled his new, comprehensive report, “Breaking the Promise”, which highlights how the Republican plan to turn Medicare into a voucher program and slash Medicaid will impact New York’s 7th Congressional District.

“As we celebrate the 45th anniversary of Medicare, we are reminded of the promise made to our nation’s seniors – that is, the promise of health care and security. For the over 80,000 Queens and Bronx seniors in New York’s 7th District, this promise could not be more crucial. Yet, at a time when we should be focused on strengthening Medicare, Republicans are trying to undermine it,” said Congressman Crowley. “This is not a game – Republicans are talking about cutting support for our parents and grandparents who have nowhere else to turn if the promise of Medicare is broken. My report highlights just how high the stakes are for 7th District seniors and the future of our community. I am glad to have a partner in the fight for our community’s seniors in Make the Road New York. We must do all we can to uphold the promise of Medicare for today’s seniors as well as for future generations.” 

Ana Maria Archila, Co-Executive Director of Make the Road New York, addressed the senior community’s need for Medicare.

“Attempts to voucherize Medicare and put the program into private hands will only increase the burden on our nation's seniors. Our country needs to continue on the path set by health reform and treat health care as a right, not a privilege that only the wealthy can afford. We look forward to working with Congressman Joseph Crowley and other leaders to fight efforts to weaken Medicare and support efforts that keep us on course towards quality, affordable health care for generations to come,” said Archila.   

Recently, House Republicans voted to end the Medicare program as we know it and replace it with a voucher system, increasing seniors’ costs and reducing benefits for all seniors. Under the Republicans’ voucher program, seniors’ out-of-pocket health care costs would skyrocket over time to double, or even triple, the current amount.

In his report, “Breaking the Promise”, Crowley reveals the devastating consequences of the Republican plan on New York’s 7th Congressional District, including:

  • Medicare will cease to operate as a guarantee and will become a voucher program. Those who exceed the voucher limit will have increased out-of- pocket costs for incredibly expensive, and in many cases unaffordable, services.
  • The 88,000 seniors and individuals with disabilities currently enrolled in Medicare will no longer be entitled to free preventive care. 
  • The 6,400 Medicare beneficiaries who entered the prescription coverage gap last year will see major increases in their prescription drug costs.
  • Without a government guarantee, the 110,000 individuals between ages 44 and 54 will have to save a total of $25.7 billion more over their working lives to pay for the increased cost of their health coverage after they turn 65.
  • The 3,100 nursing home residents whose care is paid for by Medicaid, or 79% of all nursing home residents in the district, will face both eligibility and coverage restrictions, including reduced nursing home staffing.
  • The 466,000 individuals age 49 or younger will have to wait at least one extra year to join Medicare, and 403,000 individuals age 43 or younger will have to wait two extra years to join Medicare. This will drive up prices for others who have health insurance.
  • This eligibility age increase will raise individuals’ premiums and employer costs in Queens and the Bronx. Employers’ costs are estimated to increase by $4.5 billion in 2014 as employer health plans become the primary payer for the population without Medicare.

Congressman Crowley is working from his seat on the House Ways and Means Committee to strengthen and preserve Medicare and Social Security for the seniors of today and tomorrow.

To read Crowley’s report, please click here.

Congressman Crowley is the seven-term representative from the 7th Congressional District of New York, which includes sections of Queens and the Bronx. He serves as chief deputy whip in the Democratic leadership of the U.S. House of Representatives and is a member of the House Ways and Means Committee, which is responsible for all tax, trade and Social Security issues, as well as health and retirement security.