2012-08-08 / Civics and Politics

Nan Hayworth Talks with Seniors

Meeting comes as lawmakers hit the district in August
Tim Greco
photos by Chris Layton

Putnam Valley seniors had a chance Wednesday to take their concerns to a host of government officials, including Congresswoman Nan Hayworth.

The seniors were first greeted by County Executive MaryEllen Odell, Assemblyman Steve Katz and Putnam Valley Supervisor Bob Tendy, before the Congresswoman spoke.

Patricia Sheehy of the Putnam County Office of the Aging stated  that the seniors had invited the Congresswoman to come down to have a question and answer session about the 2010  health care law. Sheehey said the seniors were going shopping after lunch and the Congresswoman arrived late, so they would have a short time together but, “She does so much for seniors, she is out in the community all the time.”

Congresswoman Hayworth walked in as seniors were being served their lunch and greeted each table and answered any questions the seniors had; afterward she addressed the seniors as a whole. “My job in representing Putnam County is to make sure everybody I serve thrives in this beautiful country my mother chose. I am first generation American; both my parents rely on Social Security, Medicare, both of them are War War II veterans. I know how important these programs are, I’m a doctor myself, I’m an eye surgeon, an  ophthalmologist. I practiced for 16 years and so many of my patients  had Medicare and I participated in Medicare for all those years, so I am very, very cognizant of how crucial it is to protect Medicare…”

She further stated that Medicare has 10,000 new people joining everyday and that she met up with seniors who signed up for the benefits just today.

She went on to say about Medicare, “It is a crucial program but it is in a lot of peril these days ... and it is rapidly running out,” due in part that people are living longer lives. “Medicare has some challenges going forward.”

Of course, Hayworth's view on Medicare and the new health care law is not universally shared. Democrats are likely to make substantial attacks this fall that she will vote to cut government spending, to the detriment of seniors.

Hayworth said of the Affordable Care Act passed in 2010, “…that big health law made Medicare even more in peril sadly because it actually took 500 million dollars, even more then that out of Medicare… the only way to fix that is to repeal that law and replace it with a better plan.”

Hayworth stressed to the seniors that Medicare and Social Security needed to be protected and felt personally it was an honor to fight for them, she then took time to field questions from the seniors.

One senior asked about the impending election in November and asked about repealing Obamacare should Romney win. Hayworth felt strongly that the law would be repealed: “In repealing the law they would restore 500 million to Medicare which we absolutely need…”

What would the $500 million be otherwise used for, one senior asked? ‘It would be going into bureaucracies primarily; it’s going into a lot of layers of red-tape intended to help people…It’s not the right way to go; it’s a very expensive law that is estimated to cost 2 trillion dollars to put that law into effect in the next ten years...” The Congresswoman stressed the money would not be going into Medicare or to seniors.

Hayworth felt they could honor the goals of the laws but do it without costing the American people. Most seniors were concentrated on enjoying their meal but seemed to be listening.

When asked afterward what is the biggest challenge to Putnam County seniors Hayworth said, “We have a very high cost of living in NY State and they're on fixed incomes, most of them, and the programs from the federal level that form a safety net are under fiscal threat because of the nature of arithmetic and demographics.”

Attempts to reach her opponent, Democrat Sean Patrick Maloney of Cold Spring, were unsuccessful.

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