Boustany says change needed to save Medicare

LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) - Seniors depend on Medicare for the health care. But Congressman Charles Boustany says change is needed to assure its future.

At the Senior Center on Fifth Street, Friday Bingo is a nice break from the stresses of everyday life. Just about everyone here relies on Medicare for health care. 79 year old Euna LeDoux says she doesn't know what she'd do without it. "What could we do? We wouldn't have money enough to go to the hospital. That's for sure."

The Medicare system basically provides health insurance for those 65 and older. Congressman Boustany says the system is in severe need of revamping if it's to continue far into the future. "For the last year or so more money is being spent on the program than is coming in to sustain it. This is a real problem and we're looking at the possibility of a Medicare program going bankrupt."

Boustany says he's working to provide a secure future for Medicare for today's seniors as well as the next generation. He says his committee, the House Ways and Means committee, will hold hearings on it. "If nothing is done there will be cuts in benefits and that's why this is a very serious problem that we have to deal with if we're going to save this program. And I say it's a very important program. Our seniors depend on it, they paid into it. We have to make sure we put it on a sustainable basis, save it and protect it, preserve it and strengthen it."

Euna and others here hope so. And they hope solutions won't mean they'll have to pay more. "If everything gets so high and groceries and everything gets so high, I don't know how much more we could pay."

For most people Medicare provides hospital insurance without a premium if they or a spouse paid into it and doctor visits and outpatient care for a monthly premium.

The Calcasieu Council on Aging can help seniors with questions about Medicare. For more information call 474-2583.