As I watch primary season in full swing, I cannot help but think here we go again and fear what will happen to seniors in the midst of budget deficits and attempts to cut safety net programs. Based on the GOP debates and the upcoming Supreme Court arguments, the Affordable Care Act is a critical issue in the upcoming presidential election.
As a senior myself and with more than 10 years of experience in voter turnout and as a poll worker, I have watched hundreds of seniors cast ballots. Not only will we see the ACA take center stage in the upcoming election, but the future of Medicare will be a deciding factor. In this season of strained budgets, the cost of health care has become an easy target and with the new bipartisan plan developed by Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wisc., and Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., it seems even more likely that Medicare is on the block.
Luckily, seniors have a strong voting presence and an opportunity to fight the overhaul of Medicare. Just look at voter turnout in 2010: Nearly 34 percent of all voters were age 60 or older, even though they account for only 24 percent of the adult population (www.kaiserhealthnews.org).
With an uncertain future for Medicare, millions of seniors are at risk. As primaries continue and the upcoming presidential election hits full swing, I urge every voter, but especially older adults, to stay informed about the candidates and positions on critical issues like Medicare and health care reform.