GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) - The battles in Washington, D.C. over the budget, the Affordable Care Act -- Obamacare as some call it -- and how to fund the increasing cost of Medicare and Social Security rage on.
As they do, one member of the U.S. Senate was in Grand Rapids Thursday vowing to preserve some of those programs that many seniors depend on. A ceremony was held at the Grand Rapids Senior Neighbors Center in which Sen. Debbie Stabenow was recognized for her efforts.
Max Richtman, president and CEO of the National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare, presented Stabenow with boxing gloves so she can continue the fight.
Citing the budget passed in the U.S. House of Representative, Stabenow says Medicare as we know it would cease to exist under the so-called Ryan plan -- a Medicare plan by Budget Committee chairman Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wisc.).
She also acknowledges that budget has no chance of passing in the Senate.
Nonetheless, Stabenow expressed her concerns about the safety nets due to increasing costs and the growing demand. While speaking to a group of seniors, she said programs like Medicare and Social Security have to be preserved, but admits there will also have to be cost savings.
"The reality is that Medicare has been a great American success story. We have a generation of seniors including my mom that are living longer, healthier lives, playing with great-grandkids and we know we have to make improvements in order to bring down cost to make sure it's strong for the long run. But we don't need to eliminate it," Stabenow told 24 Hour News 8.
Concerns were also raised at the Grand Rapids meeting about the potential repeal of the Affordable Care Act, now pending in the U.S. Supreme Court. That, according to one of the speakers at the Grand Rapids event, could have a dramatic impact on Medicare costs for seniors if the High Court declares the law invalid.
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