Press Release

On Medicare's 49th Birthday Statewide Actions Call to: Protect, Improve, and Expand Medicare for All

New Report Shows Medicare on Solid Footing Through 2030

On Medicare's 49th birthday, Wednesday, July 30, the Campaign for a Healthy California plans actions in 15 cities throughout California to celebrate Medicare's successful provision of guaranteed health care to millions of elderly senior and disabled Americans for nearly half a century.  
Organizers say the actions will underscore the need to protect, improve and expand Medicare at a time when it is under attack, with efforts in Congress and the White House to reduce coverage, raise the eligibility age, eliminate providers and turn Medicare into a voucher program.
Actions will take place in Bakersfield, Fresno, Stockton, Sacramento, Modesto, Oakland, Richmond, Grass Valley, San Francisco, San Jose, Stockton, Walnut Creek, Anaheim, Los Angeles, San Bernardino and San Diego.
The Campaign for a Healthy California (CHC), organizer of the day's events, is a coalition of over 80 organizations committed to finishing the job of healthcare reform in California by organizing for the expansion of Medicare for all. CHC seeks to transform the current system, in which the quality of care and access to care is dependent on ability to pay, to one that provides a single standard of excellent care for all. CHC includes the California Nurses Association, the California Alliance for Retired Americans (CARA), California National Organization for Women (NOW), Jobs with Justice and many other groups.
"It's very important for people to remember that the Medicare program has been in existence for 49 years and that's long enough to see that it works.  We don't want it privatized because we know that the proposed schemes, such as vouchers, will hurt many people," said Myrtle Braxton, Vice President of California Alliance for Retired Persons (CARA).
"Medicare's birthday is a time to reflect on what works and what doesn't. While the ACA extended health coverage to a number of low and moderate -income individuals and families, there are still far too many people who remain uninsured or inadequately covered," said Martha Kuhl, RN, CNA treasurer and a Children’s Hospital in Oakland RN who represents CNA in the coalition. "We need guaranteed universal coverage with a single standard of high quality care that is not based on ability to pay. Medicare's terrific track record indicates that is best achieved through single payer reform, and expanding and updating Medicare to cover all Americans,” said Kuhl.  

This week's anniversary events coincide with the release of a new report Monday by trustees for Medicare and Social Security showing the trust fund that pays for Medicare is in much better shape than the doom and gloom predictions of the budget cutters and legislators who favor cutting benefits, raising the eligibility age or privatization. Now the trustees say that Medicare is on solid financial footing through 2030. The best way to further improve the funding, says CNA, is to expand the risk pool by adding more healthy people, as in extending the eligibility age to cover everyone.

"We are also trying to draw attention to how the 10% cuts, made in March 2013, are currently hurting people who are trying to access their Medicare benefits," said Myrtle Braxton.  "For example, where I live in Richmond, the cuts have further reduced access to the Social Security office, which administers Medicare benefits in addition to Social Security benefits. The office was already inaccessible to people who don't have cars and now, with cuts in staff and hours, it's impossible to reach people on the phone and many poor people, disabled and seniors don't have computer access so that's not an option for them," said Braxton, who is also Chairperson of the Health Ministry at Easter Hill United Methodist Church in Richmond, CA.

"In Bakersfield we're marking Medicare's birthday because having access to healthcare can make the difference between a good life and a life that is full of hardship and despair. No one in California should be denied the opportunity for a good life regardless of immigration status," said Paola Fernandez, an organizer in the Central Valley with the California Partnership. "We want to see Medicare expanded to everyone because it is a public program that really works."

"We're celebrating the birthday of Medicare because we think it's the model we should be expanding to achieve healthcare for all, said Barbara Blake, Executive Director of Labor United for Universal Healthcare. "We are taking part in the statewide actions to show our deep support for a healthcare system that recognizes and supports healthcare as a human right."   

July 30 Actions:

FRESNO - 11:30 am
Federal Courthouse
2500 Tulare St.
Contact: Gene Roza  (559) 905-3521
GRASS VALLEY   4:30- 5:30 pm
Corner of Brunswick and Sutton Way
4:30-5:30 pm
Contact: Robert Kruger (530) 277-0765
MODESTO - 9:00 am
Social Security Office
1521 Carpenter Rd.
Contact: Addie Brinkley (209)765-1215
OAKLAND - 10:00 am
Eastmont Town Center
7200 Bancroft St.
Contact: Surit Goldmacher  (510) 893-2314
RICHMOND - 11:00 am
Social Security Office
1221 Nevin Ave.
Contact: Myrtle Braxton (510) 233-0777
SACRAMENTO - 11:00 am
Social Security Office
2424 Arden Way
Contact: CARA (415) 550-0828
Social Security Office - 3:30 pm Rally
1098 Valencia
Forum at City College / across street - 4:00 pm
Contact: CARA (415) 550-0828
SAN JOSE - 12:00 pm noon
Federal Building
280 S. 1st St.
Contact: Greg Miller  (408)254-3311
STOCKTON - 6:00 pm - 8:00 pm
Whirlow's- Miracle Mile
1906 Pacific Ave.
Free drawing
Contact:  Rose Roach  (209) 623-9950
WALNUT CREEK - 8:30 - 9:30 am
Social Security Office
1111 Civic Center Dr.
Contact: Gerri Fields  (925) 858-3547
ANAHEIM - 11:00 am
Social Security Office
900 S. Harbor St.
Cecilia Flores (714) 458-2208

Social Security Office
5300 Office Park Dr. Bakersfield CA 93309
Contact: Paola Fernandez - (661) 378-7290

LOS ANGELES - 11:00 am
Lincoln Park,
3501 Valley Blvd.
(near Florence Nightingale statue)
Contact: Samuel Sukaton (909) 499-6855

Inland Center Mall
500 Inland Center Drive
Contact: Shirley Harlan (909) 659-9360
SAN DIEGO - 8:30 am
Hilton San Diego Bayfront
1 Park Blvd
(outside front entrance)
Contact: Gayle Chenoweth (619) 450-2524