House GOP cuts would harm poor seniors

April 20, 2011

Recent articles on the FY12 budget debate have failed to recognize the incredible harm proposed cuts would have on low-income older Americans.

The House Republican budget proposal would cut Medicaid spending by$1.4 trillion over 10 years. Right now, Medicaid pays for about 62 percent of the nation's total long-term care costs, and about 6 million seniors need long-term care.

The proposal also would cut the Senior Community Service Employment Program by $150 million –on top of the $375 million just cut from the program in the FY11 budget.

SCSEP is the only federal program providing employment training and job placement for seniors aged 55 and older who have incomes up to 125 percent of the poverty line. Nearly 90 percent of participants live on about $11,000 per year, 70 percent are women, and 48 percent are minorities.

These cuts will result in 83,000 jobs lost. Is this the best time to be cutting an effective jobs program targeted directly to those who need it most?

In writing about the budget, please don't forget to point out how these cuts could affect our most vulnerable citizens. Yes, we need to cut the deficit, but not on the backs of the people who are already suffering.

Jean Van Ryzin, Gambrills

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