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      Seniors press lawmakers to reject cuts to middle class programs

      Threatened by benefit cuts and future tax burdens, senior citizens in Point Place urged Ohio legislators on Wednesday to protect their social safety net.

      Advocates from ProgressOhio and the National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare joined seniors at the Friendship Park Senior Center to tell Senators Rob Portman and Sherrod Brown to keep their â??Hands Offâ?? Social Security, Medicaid and Medicare.

      â??What we try to do is make sure everybody is aware of whatâ??s happening in Washington,â?? said Sam Burnett of the NCPSSM. He continued, â??What we try to do in Washington is make sure they understand the unintended consequence and how many people are hurt by their actions.â??

      Advocates hope to convince lawmakers to consider the social and financial burdens that program cuts and additional taxes would have on seniors, and to close the loopholes and tax breaks for the richest 2% of Americans.

      â??Seniors definitely need the benefits that they have worked all through the years for, and Medicare and Social Security is very important in their everyday lives,â?? said Denise Gastesi of ProgressOhio at Wednesdayâ??s press conference. She added, â??We need to be not just burdening the seniors and the middle class with this, the larger corporations need to pay their fair share.â??

      Groups such as the Alliance of Informed Citizens of Northwest Ohio are working to make sure seniors understand the issues that could have a major impact on their lives, before a problem happens. Chairman Rod Farnsworth told WNWO how medicare helps many seniors keep track of their health.

      â??If youâ??re a diabetic theyâ??ll pay for your diabetic exam, but if not, youâ??ll want to be contacted to make sure that you donâ??t get glaucoma or any other things,â?? said Farnsworth. He urged that seniors who are able to take care of their eyes are more likely to continue living independently. â??If they can drive for three more years, that means independence for three more years.â??

      The Alliance of Informed Citizens of Northwest Ohio will continue to work with other community groups to safeguard seniors from fraud and identity theft. Advocates will also seek lower costs and improvements to Medicare for seniors and those who with disabilities.

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