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Florida Seniors Vote on Five Medicare Solutions at AARP Forum

In 2024, the trust fund that pays for Medicare is expected to be depleted. What should be done about the future of Medicare?

That's the issue Tampa senior citizens got a chance to tackle at the AARP's "You've Earned a Say" initiative forum at the Poynter Institute.

The audience voted on five questions with a hand held clicker.

1.) Should the qualifying age for Medicare be raised from 65 to 67?

No: 56 percent. Yes: 35 percent. Neither: 10 percent.

2.)Should drug companies be required to give rebates or discounts to Medicare?

Yes: 85 percent. No: 15 percent.

3.) Should the premium for higher income people be raised another 15 percent?

Yes: 55 percent. No: 24 percent. Neither: 20 percent.

4.) Should Medicare be changed to a premium support plan?

Yes: None. No: 86 percent (These people said leave it as it is.) Another 14 percent said have a premium support plan with a Medicare option.

5.)Should a 20 percent co-pay be instituted on things such as home care and skilled nursing facilities?

Yes: 27 percent. No: 73 percent.

AARP state director Jeff Johnson didn't have to prod the audience of 50 senior citizens for participation. They had plenty to say about health care.

“I’m very disgusted with the quality of health care in this country, I call it disease care, not health care!” said 65-year old Sherry West of Clearwater.

According to recent polling, 59 percent of Florida baby boomers say they will have to rely on Social Security and Medicare even more in retirement because of the recent economic downturn. 

Almost 50 percent feel that their voices will not make a difference in Washington.

Sarah Pusateri is a former multimedia health policy reporter for Health News Florida, a project of WUSF. The Buffalo New York native most recently worked as a health reporter for Healthystate.org, a two year grant-funded project at WUSF. There, she co-produced an Emmy Award winning documentary called Uniform Betrayal: Rape in the Military.