Nurses to Lead Irvine Rally Thursday Against Cuts in Medicare, Social Security
For Immediate Release
July 20, 2011
More than 100 registered nurses, joined by community activists in Orange County, will hold a noon speak out and rally Thursday in Irvine to call on Congress and the White House to stop any cuts to Medicare, Social Security, and Medicaid.
The rally comes as Washington moves closer to an agreement to raise the national debt ceiling at the expense of what many expect will be devastating cuts in basic services, especially those that serve seniors and the disadvantaged.
What: RN, Community Rally, Speak Out
When: Thursday, July 21
Time: 12 noon to 1 p.m.
Where: 1 Civic Center Plaza, Irvine
“At a time when so many seniors and working families are enduring enormous hardship due to the economic crisis, the prospect of additional reductions in our most basic programs is unconscionable,” says DeAnn McEwen, RN, co-president of the California Nurses Association/National Nurses United which is sponsoring the rally.
Other participants at the rally are expected to include labor activists, teachers, and physicians.
Among the proposals made by the White House and Congress are raising the eligibility age for Medicare, cuts in benefits, a freeze on cost of living increases for Social Security (despite the fact that Social Security payments contribute nothing to the deficit) and sweeping cuts in Medicaid.
“Nurses already see broad declines in health status among patients and their families that are directly linked to unemployment, lack of healthcare coverage, housing and nutrition crises, and the many cuts in services that have already been made. These cuts would put the health and lives of millions at risk,” McEwen, who will speak at the rally, warns.
Just this week, a survey by the Kaiser Family Foundation revealed that 47 percent of Medicare recipients are already spending nearly a fourth of their budgets on healthcare.
Additionally, the Economic Policy Institute reported today that the average annual Social Security retirement benefit in 2009 was $13,406.40, barely above the $10,289 federal poverty line for individuals age 65 and older. According to 2008 data, for the poorest 40 percent of 65-and-older households, Social Security payouts constitute more than four-fifths of total income.
Instead of these cutes, NNU is proposing a tax on Wall Street speculation, such as major trades on stocks, bonds, derivatives, and credit default swaps, that could raise hundreds of billions of dollars every year to help rebuild America. A bill is expected to be introduced soon.