Nonprofit Lobbies to Protect Medicare

July 3, 2013
BY Marc Shapiro

ProtectSeniors.org, a Washington, D.C.- based nonprofit, is working to protect pensions, health care and Medicare for seniors and retirees.

“Our nonprofit, ProtectSeniors.org, has written to the U.S. House Committee on Ways & Means supporting the continued maintenance of Medicare, and I urge all retirees to work and stand together to make sure America’s senior generation is not left unprotected,” Sheldon Keilson, a Baltimore resident, said in an email to the Baltimore Jewish Times.

Paul Miller, executive director ofProtectSeniors.org, said Medicare, health care and pensions are in danger of being cut, slashed and otherwise threatened by corporations that promised these benefits to its workers.

“When these folks worked back 20, 30, 40 years ago, part of the package was you work longer hours for less pay, less vacation time, but you get retirements with health care and pay,” he said. “Since 2000, corporations are looking at this stuff and saying, ‘How can we make more money?’”

Miller said most of the companies working to slash benefits are healthy, large corporations. Verizon, for example, shifted retiree pensions to an annuity program, in which retirees lose federal protection. Some companies move pensions into unprofitable divisions, which can go bankrupt, taking retiree benefits with them.

His group is open to change as long as it’s not at the expense of the retirees.

“We’re asking that if you’re going to make changes to them, let’s have some thoughtful consideration here,” Miller said.

The nonprofits biggest focus is lobbying, not just against legislation that threatens these programs, but for legislation that protects them or changes the plans in ways that don’t threaten retirees’ livelihoods.

The advantage of being an advocacy group for seniors, Miller said, is that members of his group, who reside in almost every congressional district in the county, are motivated to vote, write letters, make phone calls and lobby in person.

“They may be old in age, but that doesn’t mean that they’ve lost their voice,” Miller said.

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