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‘Outraged’ seniors to protest at MHA headquarters over Medicare eligibility

‘Outraged’ seniors to protest at MHA headquarters over Medicare eligibility

Date: Tuesday, October 18, 2011, 11:06am EDT

Julie M. Donnelly

Reporter –Boston Business Journal

Seniors from the Massachusetts Senior Action Council , and their supporters, are expected to protest the Massachusetts Hospital Association ‘s recommendation that the Medicare eligibilty age be raised to 67 from 65. The protest, scheduled for 1pm Tuesday outside the Massachusetts Hospital Association offices at 101 Arch St., was postponed from last week, after the association agreed to meet with seniors to hear their concerns.

But the seniors’ group said that meeting was not successful.

The American Hospital Association announced last month it would advocate for raising the Medicare eligibility age, as an alternative to cutting the reimbursement rates hospitals receive to cover procedures for Medicare patients. Hospitals argue that the already-low reimbursement rates do not cover the cost of care, and hospitals that serve large numbers of Medicare patients cannot sustain more cuts.

The seniors say they are "outraged", and that the proposal would "do nothing to reduce health care costs but instead shifts the cost burden onto the elderly in Massachusetts, who are already struggling to maintain their health and well-being under the current system," according to a statement.

The seniors group said it is launching a lobbying campaign targeting Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., and other members of the Congressional delegation to demand zero cuts to Medicare and no rise in the eligibility age.

The seniors are expected to be joined by supporters from a number of other organizations, including the National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare, Massachusetts Home Care Association, Latino Elders for a Secure Retirement, and the Massachusetts Nurses Association.