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Statement by James P. Firman, Chair Leadership Council of Aging Organizations (LCAO) on the President's FY2009 Budget Proposal

WASHINGTON, Feb. 5 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The following is a statement by James P. Firman, chair of the Leadership Council of Aging Organizations (LCAO), on the President's FY2009 budget proposal :

Senior organizations are deeply disappointed in the budget proposal put forth by the President today. The budget proposes draconian cuts of almost $200 billion to Medicare and Medicaid, which would cause serious and potentially life threatening harm to millions of older Americans.

It is particularly irresponsible to propose this magnitude of Medicare cuts without reducing overpayments to private insurance Medicare Advantage plans, as recommended by the non-partisan expert Medicare Payment Advisory Commission (MedPAC). Further evidence of misplaced priorities is the plan to extend the Administration's first-term tax cuts--primarily for the wealthiest Americans--beyond the 2011 expiration date, at a cost of $635 billion through 2013.

The budget also seeks huge cuts in many important discretionary programs and frozen funding in most others. Spending cuts sought include: a $30 million reduction for the Administration on Aging, $172 million cut for the Senior Community Service Employment Program, $570 million cut for the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program, and $500 million cut for the Social Services Block Grant Program. These cuts are being proposed at a time when our economy is slowing considerably and the cost of necessities such as home heating costs and fuel are rising steadily.

Fortunately, many in Congress understand just how important these programs are to thousands of vulnerable older Americans and their families, and will work with us to strengthen them.

Our hope and expectation is that Congress will support and enhance effective programs which enable older Americans to pursue healthy, independent and dignified lives. Our nation must prepare now for the growing number of baby boomers who will need economic, health, and long-term care protection as they age, by strengthening Medicare and Medicaid, preserving Social Security, and increasing funding for a wide variety of home and community-based supportive services. LCAO looks forward to working with Congressional leaders to develop a plan which will respond to human needs and tap the talents of our senior population as a resource for the nation.

LCAO is a coalition of 56 national not-for-profit organizations concerned with the well-being of American's 87 million people over age 50. An advocacy leader since 1978, LCAO is committed to social justice and fiscal responsibility for an aging society. For more information, please visit

Media Contact: Scott L. Parkin, 202-479-6975

SOURCE Leadership Council of Aging Organizations
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