Protesters want to keep Medicare in Louisiana

Photo provided by staff.

POSTED: Wednesday, July 30, 2014 - 4:30pm

UPDATED: Thursday, July 31, 2014 - 9:22am

More than 700,000 people in Louisiana depend on Medicare, and some seniors citizens are scared they could lose it. Some people in our area made a statement hoping to get the attention of one of our congressmen.

The seniors don't want change. They are afraid Medicare will be turned into a voucher program and that their needs won't be met.

That is why Linda Kocher is here in front of Congressman Bill Cassidy's office. She is hoping he'll listen.

"I'm pushing 65, and I don't want to be handed a voucher and sent out to find my own insurance," said Linda Kocher. "Look at it from a different viewpoint, and you know, see that those of us who would be dealing with this, maybe our points of view have merit."

Kocher and other senior citizens want to keep Medicare.

"I think, we've all worked too hard to have that happen in this country, and I don't think it has to happen," Kocher said.

The problem is Medicare is going bankrupt, and Cassidy's plan to help with that may involve a voucher program. It's something he's voted for in the past to help alleviate the debt, but these seniors citizens are worried that changing the program will limit their coverage.

"My understanding also is that the voucher would have a certain amount, and you know, what if they're problems, what if I need to see a specialist, what if there's an additional problem," Kocher said.

Bruce Blaney is on Medicare, and he's also an advocate for senior citizens.

"It saves me thousands of bucks every year. It brings access to quality healthcare. If I didn't have it, I would probably be dead," said Bruce Blaney, Director of the Supported Living Network in Louisiana.

That's why Blaney wants to celebrate. Medicare was signed into law 49 years ago by president Lyndon B. Johnson . These seniors are filled with hope that the state will fight for it and keep it.

"Personally it means I'll probably live a whole lot longer because I have healthcare. The fact that people didn't have healthcare in the 50s and 60s, that meant they probably died about 15 years earlier than I'm going to die. So it means life to me," Blaney said.

We did reach out to the congressman's office, but we haven't heard back from him yet.


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