It's the 47th anniversary of Medicare and that means different things to different people.
Local activists with the Illinois Alliance of Retired Americans gathered in front of U.S. Congressman Bobby Schilling's office on 41st Street in Moline Monday morning. The group criticized Republicans and Rep. Schilling for what they say are votes and views against Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security.
They also released a new report, entitled "Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid Work for Illinois" that includes more information about how these programs impact Illinois residents.
View the report.
The signs and shouts were spurred by Rep. Schilling's support for a plan by Republican U.S. Congressman Paul Ryan from Wisconsin, which includes changes to the payment structure of those 54 and under who will one day benefit from the Medicare system.
"He voted for Rep. Paul Ryan's budget and we want to send him [Rep. Schilling] the message - hands off our Medicare, hands off Social Security, hands off the Affordable Care Act," says Barbara Franklin, President of the Illinois Alliance for Retired Americans.
"That's one plan [Rep. Ryan's plan], but one of the things we're wondering is where's the Democrat's plan? We haven't seen one and this is something that is a bi-partisan thing that people know Medicare is going bankrupt in 2024 and so we'd like to see them [Democrats] come to the table," says Jon Schweppe, Communication Director for Rep. Schilling.
Congressman Schilling is in Washington, D.C., but he did release a statement Monday morning. In it, he says: "I view Medicare as a promise made to our seniors and am fighting to ensure this promise is kept... Medicare as we know it is still here, and the budget proposal the House has voted on would not change that at all for those in or near retirement. I repeat: if you’re 55 years of age or older, your Medicare will not be changed or disrupted if this budget blueprint is implemented."
Republicans say Obamacare cuts Medicare by $500 billion.
Either way, both sides agree there is a lot of misleading information out there and this will be a vital issue for voters when local, state and the Presidential election comes up in November.