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AFL-CIO

  • He lost his battle with ALS but Medicare and Social Security made a difference.

    -Ronda B.

  • If we did not have Social Security and Medicare, my husband and I would be homeless!

    -Sandy S.

  • Without [Social Security and Medicare] I would be lost.

    -Vincent G.

  • Medicare helped pay for my dialysis supplies, which enabled me to perform treatments at home and to continue working.

    -David K.

  • Without Medicaid, [my son’s] meds cost $600 per month, even with our insurance.

    -Deanna E.

  • With Medicare, we are protected against financial collapse in the event of a new medical situation.

    -Kathryn L.

Read Stories

Ronda B., Rochdale, Mass.

When my father was suffering with ALS (Lou Gehrig’s disease) he was able to go on Medicare and Social Security for about 21 months before he passed away. As a small business owner he was fortunate to be on my mother’s union benefits and he was able to use his Social Security retirement to take the pressure off from no longer being able to work. And with medical bills coming in, Medicare completely covered his many hospital stays in those last two years as a feeding tube was placed, a tracheotomy was performed and he was treated with IV antibiotics when he had pneumonia. He lost his battle with ALS on Thursday, Mar. 20, 2008, but Medicare and Social Security made a difference so that the little time he had less was spent with his loved ones rather than worrying about how to pay for medical bills.

Sandy S., Aurora, Colo.

If we did not have Social Security and Medicare, my husband and I would be homeless!

Vincent G., Sioux Falls, S.D.

I survive on social security disability. I will be 65 next fall. Medicare helps me to deal with chronic pre-existing conditions. Without either I would be lost.

David K., St. Louis

For most of the time I was a Sheet Metal Worker, I was on dialysis. Medicare helped pay for my dialysis supplies, which enabled me to perform treatments at home and to continue working. When I eventually became too ill to continue working, Social Security was there for me and my family. These two essential programs were a lifesaving blessing for me. Without Medicare I could never had afforded the expensive dialysis treatments. These programs are lifesavers for thousands who suffer from kidney disease. We must not privatize social security or take funding away from Medicare.

Deanna E., Anchorage, Alaska

My oldest son, Ben, passed away April 1, 2012. Ben was neurologically challenged by autism and epilepsy. He was born autistic and he began exhibiting epilepsy when he reached puberty. Medicaid paid his medical bills and Social Security helped pay for his expenses in Park Home, where he lived for the last two years of his life. Without Medicaid, his meds cost $600 per month, even with our insurance. Without his Social Security and Medicaid, his parents would have been responsible for all his medical needs and physical and emotional needs from the time he aged out of our insurance policy until he died. As a parent, I paid fees for attorneys to assist in getting a trained teacher in the local school system, for psychologists to provide a proper diagnosis, for doctors who acted in emergency situations and provided primary care, for physical therapy and speech therapy when the local school district wouldn't provide these services, for psychiatric services to help us diagnose the disease and help the family cope. My husband has been diagnosed with Parkinson's disease and requires increased care as the years pass and his condition goes from bad to worse. Ben's life would have been more complicated and our lives would have been more stressful without Medicaid or Social Security, provided through the Social Security system.

Kathryn L., Asheville, N.C.

My son has Asperger's syndrome and hasn't been able to hold a job. As a result of being determined to be disabled, he gets enough income each month to be able to support himself and live independently. Both my partner and I receive Social Security and without it we would not be able to maintain our household. We also get Medicare and this gives us peace of mind. I am a cancer survivor and he is disabled. Neither of us could get private insurance because of our "preexisting conditions" but with Medicare, we are able to be protected against financial collapse in the event of a new medical situation.

Key Dates

  • Budget Conference Committee deadline to reach agreement on budget deal
  • Bill to fund federal government expires
  • Next round of sequestration cuts to be ordered for 2014
  • Debt limit extension ends
  • Debt limit to be reached

How Did We Get Here?

Congressional Republicans held the economy hostage in the summer of 2011 with a manufactured crisis. They threatened to tank the U.S. economy and allow America to default on its obligations—and they're doing it again.

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