Tuesday, July 31, 2012

97% of AZ seniors on Medicare

(Peoria, AZ)  -- It was 47 years ago this month, July 30, 1965 that the Medicare program was signed into law by President Lyndon Johnson.  Today, nearly 50 million Americans rely on the program for their basic health care coverage. 

As of 2011, over 791,000 Arizona seniors depend on Medicare, which means that 97% of all older people in the state are enrolled in the program. 

Medicare, however, is facing challenges, even as more seniors enroll and rely on it for their health care needs.  It’s projected that the Medicare trust fund will be depleted by 2024, at which time the program will no longer be able to pay all promised benefits. 

“Americans have been paying into Medicare all their working lives with the promise of guaranteed health coverage when they retire,” said David Mitchell, AARP Arizona State Director.   “For nearly 50 years, AARP has been committed to ensuring that Medicare continues to provide beneficiaries with access to affordable, high-quality health care while improving the program’s efficiency.” 

Over the last several months, AARP has been taking the debate about the future of Medicare and Social Security out from behind closed doors in Washington by hosting a national conversation about strengthening the programs.  The AARP effort is called You’ve Earned a Say.

“There’s no doubt that Medicare is the foundation of health security in retirement for most older Arizonans and Americans nationwide,” added Mitchell.  “As it celebrates its 47th year, we need to make sure people are engaged in this national discussion to keep it strong for future generations.”

For more information about AARP’s You’ve Earned a Say go to

AARP is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization with a membership that helps people 50+ have independence, choice and control in ways that are beneficial and affordable to them and society as a whole. AARP does not endorse candidates for public office or make contributions to either political campaigns or candidates. We produce AARP The Magazine, the definitive voice for 50+ Americans and the world's largest-circulation magazine with nearly 35 million readers; AARP Bulletin, the go-to news source for AARP's millions of members and Americans 50+; AARP VIVA, the only bilingual U.S. publication dedicated exclusively to the 50+ Hispanic community; and our website, AARP Foundation is an affiliated charity that provides security, protection, and empowerment to older persons in need with support from thousands of volunteers, donors, and sponsors. We have staffed offices in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

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