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Thousands rally to protect benefits

Banner Staff

 A capacity crowd of more than 3,200 filled the Wang Theatre last week as New England workers and seniors voiced their strong opposition to proposed cuts to Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid.

The rally and march came as the congressional Super-Committee readies its recommendations on reducing the federal deficit. The Super-Committee — a 12 member bipartisan group that includes U.S. Sen. John Kerry (D-MA) — is considering potential cuts to Medicaid, Medicare and Social Security that would harm today’s seniors and workers.

Cuts now under consideration include:  a $112 billion cut to Social Security by changing how the Social Security cost of living adjustment (COLA) is calculated and reducing benefits; raising the age of Medicare eligibility from 65 to 67; and, increasing out-of-pocket costs for seniors using Medicare.

“Thousands of concerned citizens sent a clear message to Senators Kerry and Scott Brown: ‘No cuts to Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security,’ ” said Deborah Banda, state director of AARP Massachusetts. “It’s time for our elected leaders to recognize that these benefits must be protected — not just for us, but for our children and grandchildren.”

The gathering at the Wang Theatre  was immediately followed by a massive march and rolling rally to the offices of Kerry and Brown (R-MA), where citizens submitted thousands of constituent-signed postcards detailing their support for jobs and retirement security.

Many of those gathered at the event said they worry that the proposed cuts would undermine the nation’s economic recovery and will immediately thrust more families and seniors into poverty.