Wednesday, July 30, 2014 | 2:01 a.m.
Today marks the 49th anniversary of the introduction of Medicaid and Medicare. Nearly half a century ago, these health care programs were enacted to provide America’s seniors with reliable medical coverage.
Now, many seniors are fearful that our health care benefits will be lost.
Tens of millions of retirees like me, who worked decades for a single employer taking a lower salary in exchange for guaranteed retirement benefits, have had their benefits reduced or canceled.
New federal legislation, the Bankruptcy Fairness and Employee Benefits Protection Act, was just introduced in the U.S. Senate. The bill would make it more difficult for companies to reduce or eliminate the earned benefits and wages of their former employees that were promised during their working years.
The bill would also require that participants of any health plan be properly informed of a modification or termination of their benefits and creates a legal presumption that promised health care benefits cannot be reduced during retirement.
With too many companies looking to duck out on their fiduciary commitments, America’s retirees must urge federal elected officials to co-sponsor S-2148 and protect seniors’ health care, as occurred 49 years ago when Medicare and Medicaid were signed into law.
I also urge my fellow retirees to join the nonprofit ProtectSeniors.org, which has been fighting for this and other retiree protections in our nation’s capital.